Eleven-year-old Quill Dewyntyn easily sums up how plant pests, pathogens and biosecurity border breaches can affect her and her family.
“If we don’t stop pests they can eat things like grain, which means no bread, which means no cheese rolls for me.”
The articulate Year 7 from Wellington’s Clyde Quay school was one of a group of students who visited the recent Better Border Biosecurity (B3) conference in Te Papa Tongarewa Wellington to play the Invasion Busters board game.
The Invasion Busters game was developed by B3 Theme Leader John Kean as part of B3’s collaboration with House of Science for fully resourced science kits as a way to educate the community about the range of biosecurity threats to New Zealand. In the Invasion Busters game, players draw cards featuring a range of invasive pests and pathogens and then choose ways to mitigate their impacts, through, for example, increased public awareness, effective traps, and targeted surveillance. Examples of pests include fruit flies and myrtle rust.
B3 Director David Teulon says “B3 is a research collaboration that explores ways to reduce the entry and establishment of invasive pests, pathogens and weeds of plant systems into New Zealand. One of the ways to achieve this is with greater community awareness and involvement – in a similar way the team of 5 million helped slow the spread of COVID-19. The Invasion Busters board game is a novel way that we can share our knowledge and biosecurity concepts with a community of eager minds.”
Quill says she loves learning about science and the game is an easy, hands-on way for her and her classmates to learn about an area of science that directly affects their environment.
“The game helped us learn how some pests and pathogens can really negatively affect our environment and have to be stopped.”
Clyde Quay students started playing the game as part of the school’s relationship with the House of Science. This is a charitable trust with a growing number of branches nationwide that provide science resource kits to schools that include professional learning resources for teachers to enable the delivery of relevant and engaging science lessons.
Clyde Quay teacher Xandra Boswell says the game and other resources from House of Science help put science into the context of the real world, helping students better retain knowledge.
“The game gets students wondering and asking questions and thinking about the environment around them and factors that can impact on it.”