Christine Liang, at SIT, and Donna Peterson, a former Senior Waste Officer at WasteNet Southland, have collaborated to gather data on microplastics. This project has been built to include school children from Southland Enviroschools, ages ranging from primary, intermediate, and high school students. The Micro-Investigators are the school students who, as part of their education, are highlighting awareness of plastic pollution in local waterways and coastal areas. The project was recognised with an Environmental Action in Education Award at the 2021 Environment Southland Community Awards.


Our aim is to raise awareness about microplastics in waterways, to involve all sections of education and to make change for the sustainability and life of the waterways.


Christine Liang (she/her)

Christine is the programme manager of SIT Environmental Management and also teaches on the course. She is passionate about citizen science and environmental education and she feels lucky that there are so many others in the community that share this drive to make the environment a better place through accessible education initiatives. Christine works with community members and SIT students to run Micro-Investigators through a tuākana-tēina (student-led) approach.

Claudia Gonnelli (she/her)

Claudia works in the SIT Environmental Management department and teaches on the Bachelor and Graduate Diploma degrees, as well as supervising Masters research. Claudia joined Micro-Investigators with the aim to improve programme implementation. Armed with her social science research background, she gathers feedback from stakeholders through surveys and interviews and uses the responses to come up with strategies to make sure that Micro-Investigators is doing the best it can to improve environmental education and our local environment.

Sam Edwards (she/her)

Sam is a student kaimahi for Micro-Investigators: she leads the awa field sessions, taking primary school students to their local rivers to collect microplastics samples and measure water quality parameters. Sam is a third year Bachelor of Environmental Management student at SIT. Sam is being sponsored by Environment Southland to put together Microplastics DIY Sampling Kits for schools including how-to resources.

Jordan Mann (they/them)

Jordan (Ngāi Tahu / Kāi Tahu) is the social media manager for the Micro Investigators Facebook and Instagram accounts. Jordan is a first year Bachelor of Environmental Management student at SIT. They love to post tips to help you achieve a sustainable lifestyle and are always looking for stories to share about community engagement with the Micro-Investigators programme, so don't hesitate to contact them through Facebook.