Mayor Jamie Driscoll Joins Our KATS Finale @ Newcastle University

Wow! What an amazing final event at The Boiler House on Newcastle University’s main campus for the KATS Finale!

The latest KATS project, funded by North East Combined Authority, focussed on working with young people, from 3 local schools, to learn about the issue of plastic pollution on marine biodiversity. Through STEM-focussed activities, they became citizen scientists and collected data about microplastics found on their local beaches. They also got the chance to visit Tynemouth Aquarium!

The final Boiler House event was jam packed with reflective activities, like the ‘School Challenge Quiz’, a scavenger hunt around campus and a creative writing activity led by Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books. The Elected Metro Mayor – Jamie Driscoll, even came in to answer students’ climate change questions!

HUGE Thank You to the Fiona Foundation

We want to express a huge thank you to the Fiona Foundation for choosing to support the KATS project and enable us to extent our outreach to a new school in the area – Benton Park Primary.

The KATS team delivered the programme to students at Benton Park Primary throughout June 2023. The project focussed on exploring all things marine biodiversity and the threats that climate change and plastic pollution poses to life below water. One of the teachers from the school involved in the project said:

“It really educated our young people to think about what action they can take to fight climate change and realise the current situation the Earth is in.

“The VR headsets and the day at Tynemouth Aquarium and the Boiler House were real highlights for our children. It gave some of them opportunities they would never otherwise have and they are still talking about it now!”

On the 26th June 2023, Martin Karran, from the Fiona Foundation, visited the campus to meet children from Benton Park and award prizes to them for completing the KATS project. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Fiona Foundation, its supporters and Fiona’s family for their ongoing generosity and support of the KATS project at Newcastle University.

You can find out more about the Fiona Foundation by visiting their website.

KATS: North East Combined Authority Schools go to Tynemouth Aquarium

Following on from our first few sessions with Benton Park Primary, St Teresa’s Primary and Gosforth East Middle…the children got the opportunity to visit Tynemouth Aquarium for a day full of exploring life below water.

The children got to spot all of the underwater biodiversity they had been learning about and also discovered brand new facts….did you know the Stone Fish is one of the most venomous fish that live in our oceans?! They also got the chance to attend an Eco Workshop where they learnt more about how long it takes for plastics to decompose, and watched the Seal Show outside.

That’s not all! We then walked over to Crusoe’s for some well deserved chips! What a fun day, and a day that will surely not be forgotten. These will be memories that the children will keep for a long time.

KATS: North East Combined Authority Project Kicks Off!

June 2023 saw the start of our brand new KATS project! North East Combined Authority are enabling the KATS project to be delivered into 12 local schools…that means an expected reach of over 400 students!

Our first batch of schools are Benton Park Primary, St Teresa’s Primary, and Gosforth East Middle! This time around the project is focussed on SDG 13 (Climate Action) and 14 (Life Below Water) and explores issues of plastic pollution on marine life.

In our first session we used the VR kits to explore life below water, looking at lots of different animals such as Penguins, Sea Turtles and Sharks (for those who were brave enough!). We also played lots of fun games and quizzes, and introduced children to citizen science using a fun experiment involving smarties.

The children got to put what they had learnt about citizen science into practice by participating in the ‘KATS Microplastic Survey’ by sifting through sand collected from Tynemouth. They found lots of small plastics such as stickers, plastic cups, Styrofoam and food wrappers. We also explored the lifecycle of plastics by ranking how long it takes different types of plastic to break down in the ocean. Did you know it takes a toothbrush over 500 years to decompose?! Finally, the children got creative by drawing their own ‘Ocean Innovations’ that will clean the oceans from plastic in the future.

Stay tuned as we will be going on an exciting trip very very soon….

KATS Lead Wins at Pride of Newcastle University Awards

Congratulations to Elle Young for winning Runner Up in the ‘Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability and the Environment’ category at the Pride of Newcastle University Awards 2023.

The Pride of Newcastle University Awards recognises students’ achievements and contribution to university life and the wider community through extra-curricular activities. They especially celebrate students who have shone through in the ‘Celebrating Success Awards‘ in which Elle won ‘Newcastle University Worker of the Year’ back in May 2023. roud of her achievements!

Take a look at Elle’s nomination below:

“Elle has demonstrated a clear passion for inspiring young people to become Climate Change makers as part of her role in KATS (Kids Action Thru Science) here at Newcastle University. She has been an integral part of the project from the outset and has helped it to develop each year through her dedication and hard work. She is driven, enthusiastic and has made a huge impact on the project, both locally and globally, which will leave a lasting impact beyond her own involvement. ”

North of Tyne Combined Authority Funds the next KATS project!

We are delighted to announce that our upcoming Kids Action Thru Science (KATS) project will be funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority. The NTCA is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, and Northumberland County Council and the North of Tyne Elected Mayor.

The funding will be used to expand the Kids Action Thru Science (KATS) project to 12 local primary schools in the North of Tyne region. The project will focus on encouraging young people to learn about Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land), and empower them to become citizen scientists…helping to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. For the upcoming round in June, the KATS team will be working with young people from Benton Park Primary, St Teresa’s Catholic Primary and Gosforth East Middle.

We are excited to see how KATS grows from strength to strength in 2023…so watch this space!