The Microplastics Citizen Science community kits are being rolled out!

by Micro-Investigators

We were funded last year by the Lotteries Environment and Heritage Grant to put together kits for the community to sample microplastics in their local rivers. One of the kits has gone to Deep Cove Outdoor Education Trust to use at their Deep Cove Hostel for school camps. This Tuesday, Christine (Micro-Investigators Lead Scientist) and Paula (Micro-Investigators Social Media Manager) tagged along on a school camp in Deep Cove (Fiordland) where Southland Girls High School students used the kit to collect a sample of water from the Wanganella Stream to test for microplastics.
It was a big moment for Micro-Investigators because it’s the first time that a school has used the Microplastics Citizen Science Kits to test for microplastics, and we’re so glad that it has been done in the most picturesque place in Aotearoa: Fiordland!
Deep Cove Nature Guides Programme was the Councillors’ Special Award winner at the Environment Southland Community Awards 2021. They engage school groups every week at their camps, and it will be interesting to compare the more urban river samples that we have already collected with the pristine waterways of Deep Cove.
One kit has been allocated to Southland Enviroschools (Environment Southland) where it can be borrowed by schools in the Invercargill city area. Southland Enviroschools has been an integral part of making Micro-Investigators a successful programme and we thank them for all their support. A kit will be going to Te Ao Marama Inc for Rangatahi Tumeke (who have a base in the Catlins), a program developed for youth to help them reconnect to their Māori culture, self-identity, and the environment. Another kit is going to Central Southland College, where the high school students will engage with local primary schools in their area. We hope in the future we can engage more high school students and we’re glad that Central Southland College has gotten on board with the project. The final kit has been delivered to Whangārei where it will be used by environmental education organization EcoSolutions (Community Business and Environment Centre) to deliver Micro-Investigator sessions in the far north. This is an indication of the project potential to expand nationwide!

The kits include everything that a school/community group needs to sample microplastics in the field, along with some extra bits:

• Field Session How-to Guide
• Pre- and Post- Field Session Activities book
• Micro-Investigators Datasheets (20)
• Micro-Investigators Field Session Certificate of Participation (60)
• Micro-Investigators Stickers/Name Tags (5 sheets, 90 stickers)
• USB stick with digital files of all resources and microscope software

• Storage bin (use it to carry all the equipment in the kit and as a table for outside activities)
• Clipboard with 1 reusable waterproof datasheet (write on it with pencil and reuse it)
• USB Microscope
• Microscope slide with microplastics examples
• Plankton net with extendable pole
• 5 mm sieve
• 10 m rope
• Digital thermometer (labelled as TDS/TEMP water quality tester)
• pH testing paper strips
• Clarity tube (comes in two parts that need to be assembled)
• Measuring tape

Download the Micro-Investigators Field Session How-to Guide, Pre- and Post- Field Session Activities book, and Micro-Investigators Datasheets here: