Getting kids on board with biosecurity
Lisa Gibbison and John Kean
Kiwifruit Vine Health and AgResearch Limited
To complement the Biosecurity Excellence initiative in Tauranga, Better Border Biosecurity (B3) has been working with locally-based education trust House of Science to develop a biosecurity focussed classroom pack for school children in years 1 to 8.
The educational kit is designed to engage students in hands-on science activities in the classroom and includes biosecurity activities such as bug identification, insect trapping, surveillance and border inspection. The activities come together in a challenging board game in which players work as a team to manage a biosecurity system that holds up against some of the world’s nastiest invaders such as fruit flies and stink bugs.
“We have worked hard to create an engaging and memorable experience for kids and teachers alike” says AgResearch scientist John Kean. “Ideally, this awareness will stay with them as they grow into the biosecurity champions of tomorrow.”
Social scientists will be measuring the change in biosecurity awareness resulting from use of the kit, as well as its retention over time. Some preliminary results were collected at House of Science’s open day in Te Puke where the kit and board game were displayed alongside inspirational seminars by Ruud Kleinpaste and marine educationalist and underwater cameraman Steve Hathaway.
The Biosecurity Excellence initiative is a partnership between KVH, MPI, the Port other industry and council groups to raise biosecurity awareness through the local community and has the goal of no incursions through the Port. The science sector is also on board with the initiative. Researchers from the B3 collaboration are working to better understand and predict local biosecurity risks, trial new detection tools, and measure the impacts of events such as Biosecurity Week.
The biosecurity kit has been sponsored by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Port of Tauranga and other local industries. It is available through House of Science to participating schools who book the kit for a week at a time.