On Friday 2 March, ten Year 12 students took part in the first session of the 2018 Healthy Harbour Watchers group.
The HHW group started in 2005 when Andrew Innes, then a Chemistry teacher at John McGlashan College, was awarded a Teacher Fellowship from the Royal Society of NZ. He worked with the NZ Marine Studies Centre to develop a project monitoring the water quality of the Otago Harbour.
Columba College students have been part of this group ever since and ten students have volunteered to be part of the group in 2018.
The role of the student researchers is to collect water samples from the sites around the Otago Harbour and then perform analysis for pH, nitrates, phosphates, salinity, oxygen concentration and enterococci bacteria. The techniques that are used help to develop the knowledge and skills that are important in Level 2 and 3 Chemistry.
Friday’s training session involved taking water samples from the Leith River and then learning how to use the sophisticated equipment in the newly opened Mellor Laboratories at the University of Otago’s Chemistry Department. The group will meet every 5 weeks and take samples, adding the results of their analysis to the archive of data on the health of the Otago Harbour.