Lab at the Lake Wanaka

On Sunday 2 April Pembroke Park in Wanaka was transformed into the ‘Lab at the Lake’, a family fun day, specifically showcasing what we do and don’t know about Lake Wanaka, work currently done, and possible future work. The Lab in a Box, an Otago Museum mobile science laboratory, housed fish, invertebrate and zooplankton hands-on displays, with live critters captured that very morning from Bullock Creek and the lake itself. The marquee housed a display on the Mahu Whenua covenants and included vegetation examples kindly donated by Te Kakano and Ribbonwood Nursery. Another Catchments Otago display detailed snow melt research in the Pisa Range, with the drone and catapult on display impressing both young and old. A fun dress up booth delighted budding freshwater scientist and anglers as they posed with their 'catch of the day' soft toy fish. The Catchments Otago displays were hugely popular and consistently busy, with children and adults alike jostling to look down microscopes at the live critters, see the drone and have their photo taken in the dress up booth. A local face painter (The Paint People) delighted children with her free stunning fish and invertebrate creations, while the Wanaka Branch of the Lions filled tummies with a free sausage sizzle, courtesy of Catchments Otago. The community really embraced having the opportunity to chat with scientists and see critters from Lake Wanaka up close; the atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive and electric with excitement. Following the event, digital copies of our Lake Wanaka display posters were offered to Wanaka Schools for use in their science curriculums. Teachers from primary and secondary schools have uniformly been extremely positive with feedback about the Lab at the Lake event and the subsequently supplied material.