Teacher scholar Michelle Isbister

What an experience! Before I applied for the scholarship, I did not really know anything about NZIBO. The camp let me learn so much and surrounded me with some fantastic people.

During the camp I met such awesome people! Students who are going to be New Zealand’s shining biologists and doctors in the near future! These students are not only great students but, more importantly, great people. During their study for NZIBO, whilst also completing their school requirements, these young people are volunteering in their community, helping others, being school leaders and representing their school and country in other areas. Not only this but they really got involved (and sometimes wet/dirty) in any task given to them be it dissection or doing the dishes.

 I look forward to hearing about their future successes.

 The staff that run the camp are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable biologists I have ever met. They inspire me and I look forward to helping these awesome people with future camps and NZIBO activities.

 The students got to try many things and hone their biology skills. Students sampled the macroinvertebrate life at Kaniwhaniwha Reserve near Pirongia, and compared this to a sample from an inner city stream. They had many chances to refine their microscope skills, preparing slides, staining samples, and drawing diagrams of stems, Paramecium and stages of mitosis. They had a go at using gel electrophoresis and using a spectrophotometer. In the plant labs they got to practise using floral formula and identify (and taste) many fruit types. Dissections included fish, squid, cockroaches, prawn and insect mouthparts.

 These dedicated students had a go at blood counts, learnt about the work of LIC and heard many young enthusiastic biologists talk about their work. The students had many chances to learn about biology research which is currently being undertaken, in fishing management, protein structures, and animal conservation in the rainforests of Costa Rica.

 After fitting all this in to 4 days in Hamilton the students sat a three hour practical examination where they all excelled. After which we headed to Auckland for part two of the camp.

 In Auckland, there were more new experiences – seeing my first wild Tuatara, North Island Robin and a Saddleback. Students examined reptile skulls and further developed their biological drawing skills in the evolution lab.

 For me, I got to try things out along side these awe-inspiring students, helping the students discover new knowledge and skills. I too, got to develop my own skills and learn new ones, like writing a VSS, and made new friends.

 A wonderful, rewarding, exciting experience. I’m looking forward to next year’s camp already.