Learnz Wind And Water Power Field Trip Generates Huge Interest

Wednesday 12 August 2009, 2:14PM

This week more than 1,700 primary, intermediate, and secondary school students from around New Zealand will participate in a virtual trek to the bottom of the South Island to visit Meridian’s Manapori hydro-station and White Hill wind farm.

The three day LEARNZ-run Wind and Water Power field trip, beginning on 12 August, will allow students to see how New Zealand’s largest hydro station generates around 5025 GWh electricity each year and how the South Island’s first wind farm provides power to more than 30,000 homes.

All this, and they won’t even need to leave the classroom. LEARNZ is an interactive education programme that uses online tools such as live audio conferencing, web diaries, and videos to take students to places they would never usually get the chance to visit, without the expense and time of a physical field trip.

In 2008 Meridian entered into a three-year partnership with LEARNZ. Each year four trips featuring Meridian wind and water assets will be offered to students.

Claire Shaw, Meridian’s External Relations Manager, says Meridian is delighted that students are able to see how the vastly different generation schemes operate.

“The LEARNZ field-trips are a great way of giving students a up-close and personal insight in to how renewable electricity is generated,” she says. “We are sure students will be fascinated by how water and wind can be turned into electricity and the process that gets it into their home.

“The Manapouri hydro station took more than eight years to complete and unlike many other power stations, it does not rely on a high dam to provide water. Instead it takes advantage of the natural 178 metre height difference between Lake Manapouri and the sea at Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound.

“The White Hill wind farm will also be of interest to students as it is the first wind farm to be built in the South Island. Students will get the chance to climb up the huge turbines to check out the 39 metre 6.5 tonne blades, and learn how when the wind speed doubles, the power available for generation increases by eight times.”

In term four students will learn about Project Crimson, a Meridian sponsored environmental trust which aims to renew and protect the New Zealand’s native red flowering trees - the pohutukawa and rata.
To find out more about Meridian’s hydro and wind generation visit wwwmeridian.co.nz http://www.meridian.co.nz . For more information on LEARNZ field trips visit www.learnz.org.nz http://www.learnz.org.nz .

The schools that are participating in the LEARNZ Water Power field trip include:

Auckland Hawkes Bay
Botany Downs School Otane School
Epsom Normal School Te Aute College
Meadowbank School
Otahuhu Intermediate Gisborne
Randwick Park School Mata School
Rosebank School

Waikato Manawatu
Hamilton Seventh-Day Adventist School Awahou School
Hauturu School Mosston School
Maihiihi School
Matamata Primary School Bay of Plenty
Pio Pio School Tauranga School
Opotiki College

Wellington Blenheim
St Teresa’s Rapaura School
Te Kura Maori o Porirua Wellington

Canterbury Dunedin
Broadfield School Dunedin North Intermediate
Cashmere High School Tahuna Normal Intermediate
Diamond Harbour School
Dunsandel School Southland
Halswell School Riverton School
Ilam School St Peter’s College
Lincoln High School
Rangiora High School
Roncalli College
South Hornby School
St Peters School Beckenham