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Biosphere STEM Project

posted 19 Oct 2018, 05:54 by N Nelson

This week Year 7, 8 and 9 students have been engaging hands-on with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) projects related to the Isle of Wight's application to become a UNESCO biosphere reserve.  UNESCO biosphere reserves are some of the best examples in the world where communities have found ways to resolve the conservation of ecosystems with their ongoing sustainable use.

The maths department have collaborated with Helen Butler MBE, who runs the Wight Squirrel Project and is President of the IOW Red Squirrel Trust.  Students have been learning about the importance and plight of red squirrels in the UK and have been working on projects such as:

  • analysing and interpreting IOW data of squirrel observations

  • developing ideas for an App to help us all become 'Citizen Scientists' and submit our own red squirrel observations to the Wight Squirrel Project.  This would help with the vital work of monitoring the red squirrel population on the island.

  • designing a red squirrel bridge to help squirrels safely cross the road.  Traffic is one of the main threats to our squirrel population.

  • and last but not least, even designing a squirrel friendly skateboard park for young people!

Awareness of both the Isle of Wight's UNESCO Biosphere Reserve application, and with it the vital importance of red squirrels on the island has been raised.  Students have also decided for themselves to start fundraising initiatives to raise money for the Wight Squirrel Project and the IOW Red Squirrel Trust. Watch this space ....

Helen Butler visited some of the lessons and shared her experience, passion and knowledge with students.  She said, ‘It is great to see how interested and engaged the students were and they came up with some excellent ideas which will be used. I hope it will stimulate a lot of interest in becoming a ‘citizen scientist’, which is the name given to people who submit squirrel sightings. Thank you to the Academy for the opportunity to hear ideas from the younger generation’.