About

We promote local curriculum 
through field based STEM

Our Team

What improves the learning of your students in the local context?

You know what you need.

You might need some inspiration.
We give you real scientists,
who share real-life solving situations they have been part of.

Ciara Espiner – Aquatic Adventurer!

Ciara is a freshwater ecologist with a deep-seated passion for the natural world and the great outdoors. Her expertise in New Zealand freshwater macroinvertebrates and native fish enables her to establish connections between physical environments, water chemistry, and invertebrate communities, revealing the intricate ecology of freshwater landscapes. Beyond her scientific pursuits, Ciara is an enthusiastic tramper who, in 2022, embarked on a journey to walk the length of New Zealand. Ciara has recently transitioned from her role as a freshwater ecology scientist to a full-time PhD position at the University of Canterbury. Join her on a journey to explore and gain insight into the wonders of freshwater ecosystems.

Ruud Kleinpaste – The Bugman

Ruud Kleinpaste needs no introduction as he is known as The Bugman to a wide audience after an exceptional career in science communication that spans over three decades. His priority is Environmental Education, championing biodiversity and biosecurity and citizen science.

Phillip Robinson explains how the tsunami tank installation works

Phillip Robinson – the tsunami guy

Phillip is the Tsunami Guy. He works with schools to raise understanding and awareness of our tsunami hazard through engaging classroom activities. He is on a mission to educate young people about best practice preparedness and resilience from potential future earthquakes and tsunamis. He is also keen to get your school moving through instituting a regular Tsunami Evacuation Hikoi.

Hari Mogoșanu – Milky-Way.Kiwi

Hari is our SPACE-girl.
She is a Space Science Communicator and also an analog Mars astronaut. She loves teaching all aspects of astronomy and space sciences and especially to support teachers and students in learning how studying space can inform how we shape the future of humankind.

Tom Coyle

Tom is a forensic scientist with over 35 years’ experience specialising in locating, developing, and preserving all types of physical trace evidence from crime scenes. He is also an internationally certified Fingerprint Expert and Disaster Victim Identification specialist. His passion for forensics inspired him to launch Forensic Insight Ltd. The ‘CSI Guy’ introduces teachers and students to a unique hands-on learning experience in all aspects of trace evidence. This is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Sonia Lucchese

Sonia works in an educational setting as a teacher of languages and as a lecturer in tertiary teacher training. She also provides weaving workshops. She supports teachers in the classroom by connecting ākonga to mātauranga Māori through weaving, and by training teachers directly.

Sonia is a specialist teacher starting at Primary School level, supporting the place-based environmental and sustainable education programme through her knowledge of weaving and tikanga. Sonia is also a lecturer in postgraduate professional teaching practices at tertiary level where she shares her passion for upholding tauiwi responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Kiera Jones

Kiera is an educational psychologist – with a particular interest in supporting teachers’ efforts in overcoming barriers to learner engagement.

Chris Hollis

Chris is a geologist and paleontologist with over 30 years’ experience as a research scientist and over much of this time has led or promoted GNS initiatives in field-based geoscience education and community engagement.

Sam The Trap Man

Like a modern day Barry Crump without the questionable antics Sam The Trap Man is a self described bushman, specialising in bringing our native ecosystems into the classroom and the classroom out into the bush.
He uses story, matauranga Maori and western science to explore the interconnectedness of our surroundings.
When it comes to catching Takahe on steep mountain slopes, wrangling Kiwi with oversized lacrosse stick nets or being bitten by native bats Sam is more than well qualified.
He has been a trapper, wild dog culler, Whio netter, helicopter ground man and avid Kokako listener.
He loves a good feed of Tawaka mushrooms served with Pikopiko and aged venison back steaks. When it comes to foraging food from the bush Sam is no slouch.
He is primary trained and holds qualifications in biological science as well as environmental management but we think his 20 years of experience in Te Urewera, Fiordland, Ruahine and other back country environments is what makes him a valuable asset to your classroom.

Sam Leske – Milky-Way.Kiwi

Sam brings us a variety of areas of expertise. From his aviation background through his time in the intelligence community and his passion for space and astrophysics.

Dr Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Lowe, a passionate outdoorsman and sports enthusiast, has championed innovative educational methods like COLA and PROBLIT. With his students achieving both nationally and internationally, he’s been recognized with the KUDOS award and Prime Minister’s Science Teacher award. His global educational experiences span from Abu Dhabi to Tokyo, emphasizing student-centric learning and hands-on STEM projects. Handle: @problit.

Richard de Hamel

“Richard de Hamel’s knowledge and enthusiasm are incredibly contagious.”
He is a marine educator with extensive experience developing interactive marine education programmes.

Julian Thomson

Julian is the Geology Guy. He once was a high school teacher focusing on earth science and lots of outdoor education. For the last 15 years, Julian has been a full-time geoscience educator, bringing the geology of New Zealand to the public via workshops, field trips, TV documentaries, websites, YouTube videos and social media. In his Earth science explorations, he travelled all over New Zealand and also to parts of Europe, Taiwan, Indonesia and even Antarctica.

Shanthie Walker

Kia ora, I’m Shanthie – a primary trained teacher and environmental educator. I love sharing my enthusiasm for the natural world with students and teachers, learning and working with others to understand the ecology of te taiao and develop solutions to environmental challenges. I’d love to help you learn more about the natural world around you, and awaken enthusiasm for teaching STEM through authentic contexts.

Bianca Woyak

Bianca Woyak is head of Science at Burnside Primary School in Ōtautahi/ Christchurch where she teaches just Science from years 1 to 6. Bianca’s pedagogy celebrates a “hands on” approach, including real-world learning with a local curriculum focus. Bianca has changed her whole school’s curriculum to include student-led action projects, giving students the ability to lead and create change for the environment.

Taylor Thomson

Taylor Thomson

The Shark Boy thrives in salt water, but like several shark species, he is agile in fresh water too.

Taylor is an environmental scientist whose fascination with sharks has led him to a career that studies human interactions with both freshwater and estuarine environments, in a bid to reduce our impact on his favourite creature – The Shark! With a knowledge base that spans across water science and ecology, his teachings focus on how we can restore our relationship with nature, thus mitigating the negative impacts on our waterways.

You can also find him as a part of the dynamic facilitator duo ‘Human-Nature,’ where he elaborates on land-based impacts on our waterways.

Sarah Cross

Sarah started her career working at entomology departments and science organisations around NZ identifying insects and biota in streams and pasture. For the past 10 years she has been focused purely on BEES! As a highly qualified and enthusiastic beekeeper she loves to show people the amazing world of bees and beekeeping. She has a vast array of knowledge around bees and pollination and can easily teach most STEM subjects using the bees, beehive or bee products as examples.

Tony Jones

Tony is the founder of Field-basedSTEM. He is very passionate about supporting teachers with specialist knowledge to enhance the skills they already have. He is driven by the real belief that young people need to spend more time in the field. Tony has a good understanding of schools, having spent 40 years in secondary school classrooms “and loved every minute”.

Mike King

Mike is a professional forager, arborist, landscaper and mushroom grower currently running Otaki College’s horticultural gardens Aho Aho.

Dr Manue Martinez

Manue is a marine biologist and is passionate about protecting our environment (taiao), the creatures that live in them, and their ecosystems. She’s always keen to share her knowledge and empower others and local communities to make a difference, especially through citizen science. Manue is currently offering her expertise in her field of research with M2M (Maunga to Moana) Consulting, which she started in early 2022.

Kathy Broadhead

Kia ora, I’m Kathy Broadhead – nature lover, nature education specialist and environmental educator. I am a trained teacher with a MEd, PGDip, BSc and over 20 years in a variety of teaching and environmental education roles, and for the last 4 years running my own Nature School. I am passionate about helping kids connect with, learn in and develop a love of nature, and supporting teachers to do the same, using nature as their classroom and co-teacher. My In-school Programme, PLD Programmes and Resource Kit have been developed from extensive experience and are designed specifically for New Zealand teachers and tamariki.

Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson, although primary trained, has worked in a variety of teaching roles for over 20 years. Her passion is in environmental education and in connecting tamariki with nature. As the lead coordinator for Kids Greening Taupō, she works with schools and ECE centres to create native restoration areas and bring back biodiversity. She also organises conservation events and has developed a large range of online environmental education resources for teachers. Rachel loves exploring the bush with both students and teachers, growing their enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, our unique native flora, fauna, and fungi.

Rob Kennedy

Rob Kennedy has a background in art, conservation and science. Papermaking meshes these interests with a passion for communication and hands-on making. He has been providing papermaking workshops around the greater Wellington Region for more than 5 years while also developing a papermaking business which helps support conservation through the sympathetic management and harvesting of plant material.

Zoe McKellar

Zoe is a geologist, editor, and science communicator. She has a wide range of teaching experience in the Earth sciences, including paleontology. Her research has focused mainly on structural geology and sedimentology, particularly on tectonic histories and rock ages. She is passionate about science communication and outreach, and she firmly believes that science is for everybody.

Chris Judd

Chris grew up in the Waikato living and loving our natural environment and after living and working around Europe, he returned home to NZ with

Sam Hampton

Sam Hampton is an earth scientist with over 15 years’ experience in teaching and learning. Sam uses his academic knowledge and adventures in the environments of New Zealand to encourage individuals to look and delve deeper into the landscapes, geology, and environments of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Angie Winnington

Angie has teaching experience in the classroom prioritising ‘scientific engagement’ learning at primary, intermediate and college level NZ students. She is enthusiastic and keen to encourage students of all abilities to find their own pathway into discovering the science around them.

Heather Knewstubb – Time Genie

Heather is our school liaison and a Time Genie, doing tasks that people don’t have time to do so they can spend more time in their zone of genius, doing what they do best. You most probably might hear from her when working with us.

Bruce Hayward

Bruce is one of New Zealand’s leading geologists, paleontologists and marine ecologists. He is the go-to expert on the geology of northern New Zealand and the volcanoes of Auckland. He loves the outdoors and assisting teachers and the public to read the landscape and rocks and understand the detailed stories they hold about the long history of this beautiful country of ours.

Gavin McLean

International STEM Educator who believes believes that New Zealand has a bright future for students who can solve real-world problems, use their communication, creativity and imagination. STEM School – Local Curriculum Design – 21st Century STEM Skills, Project Based Learning (PBL)

Ria Bright

Ria has worked in Northland secondary schools teaching social science and geography for over a decade. She is a keen advocate for education outside the classroom.

For the past four years she has
facilitated Project Island Song’s Floating Classrooms providing experiential learning for local schools. Ria is in the process of completing a doctorate researching student engagement with climate change education​.

Ben Knight

Ben is passionate about the environment and supporting local communities to be involved in the protection and management of it. He is an expert communicator and strategic planner and a founding member of the NZ Citizen Science Association.

Michael Woodcock

Take a deeper journey of self-understanding and our potential place in the world.

Claudia Silva

Claudia teaches about urban foraging, food waste and the circular economy. She has degrees in Environmental Studies and Cultural Anthropology and is fascinated by the intersection between the human experience and the environment. She is also passionate about improving science communication in school environments and is excited to share her knowledge in all things food and nature. She is currently writing her Masters thesis on how food foraging in urban spaces such as Ōtautahi Christchurch can aid in the holistic resilience of the community.

Aaron McCloy

Aaron is a marine scientist, who worked for 25 years teaching biology and environmental education, mostly in the far North. Recently he was responsible for running the Moana Restoration Courses for Papa Taiao Earthcare.

Marie Haley

Marie Haley is a historian, ecologist and storyteller. Marie explores sense of place and identity/tūrangawaewae through building connections and understanding to our natural environment and our history, to foster guardianship/kaitiakitanga.
Based in Akaroa, Marie teaches history and ecology, interwoven across multiple subject areas, particularly the new Aotearoa NZ Histories Curriculum.
‘Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua. Walking backwards into the future with eyes fixed on the past.’

Kelly Cooper – Educator Coach

Kelly’s work as an Educator Coach is driven by a genuine desire to help teachers love the work they do. She has over 26 years of experience teaching, coaching and leading in the primary and tertiary education sectors. Kelly holds a Master’s Degree in Education. She has strong curriculum knowledge having worked at several primary and intermediate schools throughout the Wellington region and as a Visiting Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington. Her mission is to encourage educators to thrive in their chosen profession.

Nigel Scott

Nigel runs MakeRoom, a Maker Space in Wellington that teaches weekly STEM and Making classes to 8-14 year olds as well as holiday programmes and adult classes. Having originally trained as a theatre technician he spent 20 years in the film industry as a music editor and sound engineer. He specialises in teaching STEM subjects by incorporating discussions and demonstrations into practical projects that use a diverse range of making skills.

Sharon Hornblow

Sharon is a West Coast-based geologist who has worked in the natural hazards and climate change adaptation space for the past decade. She is passionate about public science education, especially working with young people to help them understand the ancient, and recent, geomorphic history of the land which their community or school is built on. This leads to scientific questions about why natural disasters happen – an important thing to understand as climate change adaptation and managed retreat become the lived reality of many communities around Aotearoa.

Patricia Clark

Patricia has whakapapa connections to Ngāpuhi and grew up on a dairy farm in the South Hokianga. She had an environmentally centered upbringing which influenced her in pursuing tertiary education in Environmental Science. After graduating with a masters in 2020 focussed on freshwater ecology Patricia moved back to Northland and now works in the freshwater ecology, iwi engagement and environmental education spaces. She has experience teaching school students of all ages as well as adults.

This is our team and we are looking forward to working with you

Field-Based STEM is founded on tried and tested programmes that embrace learning in the outdoors. Tony Jones is the founder of Field Based STEM and for many years he has successfully run Science Departments and whole school curricula that have been underpinned by field work.

Field-Based STEM have several facilitators who provide Science PLD underpinned by authentic outdoor experiences.

Tony is an MOE Accredited PLD Facilitator (Accreditation Number: ACC1342). He can help you access Professional Development Funding from the Ministry of Education so that you can access the PLD that you need on your journey to deliver equitable field – based STEM programmes. 

“Our mission is based on the real belief that our young people need to spend more time in the field."

Unlike scientific community programmes that are expensive and require lots of investment, field work is done by individuals and is accessible to anyone.

The skills gained during field work open up a huge area for everyone undertaking it. 

Tony Jones, Founder