Taranaki is the most likely New Zealand volcano to cause a national-scale impact in our lifetimes and a new virtual field trip will help prepare tamariki across Aotearoa to understand and cope with possible disruption.
Prevailing winds could carry volcanic ash to Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty to disrupt air and surface transport, tourism, farming, power and water supplies.
Previous eruptions have continued for years, decades, or even centuries.
The virtual field trip, Volcanoes: our sleeping mounga in Taranaki, has been produced by the Earthquake Commission, the Volcanic Futures project and online field trip producer LEARNZ, to teach students about volcanic hazards, science and mātauranga.
LEARNZ kaiārahi Shelley Hersey, who is hosting the field trip says with so many students in lockdown, this virtual field trip is a free, accessible, inspirational and informative learning experience to explore Taranaki mounga, for students in Taranaki and around the country.
“Students will learn about volcanoes, but they can also look at ways people are working to understand and monitor volcanic processes to support community preparedness and resilience,” says Shelley.
Volcanologist Professor Shane Cronin from Auckland University shared his research with LEARNZ to help create the fieldtrip, and he explains that Taranaki has a “50 per cent chance of an eruption occurring in the next 50 years.”
Professor Cronin is also project co-leader for the TTTVF initiative, which is working to transition the Taranaki region to a volcanic future.
While Professor Cronin says the next eruption is not likely to be catastrophic, it could impact everyday life and will cause ongoing disruption for local communities.
“Being able to explore Taranaki maunga alongside a volcanologist gave me a much better understanding of the origins of this landscape and a new appreciation for the dynamic nature of the environment throughout Aotearoa,” says Shelley.
“Often we take our stunning scenery for granted without thinking about how it can change, or how we might prepare for these changes."
With interactive resources, videos and quizzes, LEARNZ online field trips are easy for educators to use and provide a fun and interactive educational experience for learners.
EQC Chief Resilience and Research Officer, and volcanologist, Dr Jo Horrocks says volcanoes are a captivating subject for young people.
“As someone who remains in awe of the power of our volcanic mounga, it’s really exciting for me to see that fascination continuing in the next generation,” she says.
“At EQC we know that building that understanding of our natural hazards when people are young will help it stick throughout their lives.”
Educators can sign up to this trip for free by visiting www.Learnz.org.nz/volcanoes213 and selecting ‘enrol now’.