Lab at the Lake – family fun freshwater science event

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On Sunday 2 April Wanaka’s Pembroke Park was transformed into the ‘Lab at the Lake’, when Lab in a Box landed in one of New Zealand’s most spectacular fresh water locations for a family fun day. Catchments Otago showcased what it knows and doesn’t know about Lake Wanaka, as well as its current work and possible future work to help our precious freshwater resources.

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The Lab in a Box housed live fish, invertebrate, and zooplankton, which were captured that very morning from Bullock Creek and the lake itself. The hands-on displays were hugely popular and consistently busy, with children and adults alike jostling to look at the fish and down microscopes at the smaller critters. The Lab in a Box provided the perfect space to safely house the live animals together with poster information for an effective and engaging learning environment.

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The neighbouring marquee housed science displays on the Mahu Whenua covenants, including vegetation kindly donated by Te Kakano and Ribbonwood Nursery, and current snow melt research in the Pisa Range using a state-of-the-art drone.

A fun dress up booth delighted budding freshwater scientist and anglers as they posed with their ‘catch of the day’, stuffed soft toys of chinook salmon, brown or rainbow trout, while a local face painter delighted children with her free stunning fish and invertebrate creations.

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The Wanaka Branch of the Lions filled tummies with a free sausage sizzle, courtesy of Catchments Otago. The community really embraced having the opportunity to chat with scientists and see critters from Lake Wanaka up close in the Lab in a box; the atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive and electric with excitement. Teachers from primary through to secondary schools have uniformly been extremely positive with feedback about the facilities and displays at the recent Lab at the Lake event.

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