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Next phase of lichen project extends beyond the classroom

The 11SCP lichen project has been in full swing for some time, with over 150 samples collected within the Avondale suburb. To understand if we had air quality problems in our suburb, we needed to find a comparative data set.

Finally, we managed to get outside of the classes and school grounds and headed west to Huia Domain and the Karamatura Valley, a nearby rural setting nestled in the Waitakere Ranges. Our tauira spent the morning exploring the number and diversity of lichens across two sites before escaping the rain and returning to the Avondale College science laboratories. Here, a range of the collected lichens were prepared for organic compound analysis which will be carried out by Dr Joel Rindelaub at the University of Auckland. The remaining samples are on their way to Dunedin where Adam Martin (GNS) will determine the heavy metals are found within lichens in a rural area.

On the day, our students displayed the HEART values and a wide range of science capabilities, in particular, ‘engaging with science’ and ‘gathering and interpreting data’. It was great to see the Sneh Patel and Jonathon Longstaff (the team from COMET who have provided funding) turn up to meet the students and see their project in action. Many thanks must also be given to the teachers on the day! Dr Tedoldi has been driving this project from the start and was well supported by Ms Lane, Mr White and Ms Parsot.

Our preliminary results have already identified some areas of interest in Avondale. If you wish to find out more about the lichen project and our findings, then plan to come along to our community engagement evening. This event is yet to be confirmed but is currently scheduled to take place on Thursday the 3rd of November - more information will follow in the next issues of Heartbeat.

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