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Students help scientists researching coastal erosion and management

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A group of high school students is helping New Zealand scientists research coastal erosion and coastal management in Hawke’s Bay, while they work towards their NCEA assessments.

The project has been developed by East Coast LAB, along with teachers from Napier Girls' High School and scientists from the University of Auckland and GNS Science.

The project encourages students to take part in science and learn more about issues within their community, and provides valuable information for the scientists.

Prior to undertaking fieldwork, the students took part in a one-day coastal processes and management session led by scientists from the University of Auckland and GNS Science. They used Westshore Beach as a case study and learnt about the management options being suggested for the region from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and WOW representatives.

East Coast LAB’s coordinator Kate Boersen says coastal erosion and inundation and how it affects those living and working along the coast is an issue that is receiving more and more attention.

“The successful management of coastal areas depends on understanding the different uses of coastal land and the physical processes that affect the coast, such as erosion,” says Ms Boersen.

She says the Napier Girls students carried out a range of experiments at Westshore Beach and the information they collect will be used by scientists from the “Living at the Edge” research programme.

“The girls were really engaged in the session and asked plenty of questions.  It will be really exciting to see their results.”

 “Living at the Edge” is research programme, which aims to enhance the resilience of communities to coastal hazards, with a focus on Hawke’s Bay. For the next three years the research team is working with the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120 project, providing scientific input, advice and support to assist in the development of a coastal hazards strategy.


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