The Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trust has appointed a geo-educator to help educate the community on the district’s geology.
Sasha Morriss, who has a masters degree in geology from Otago University, has been appointed to the role.
“I’m excited, it’s a great role,” Mrs Morriss said.
“I have contacted all of the local schools and there has been a really good response, and some community groups have been lined up.
“I love being able to take concepts that are a bit more complex and making them .. [easier to relate to].”
Mrs Morriss, a mother-of-four, has worked in a diverse range of roles as far afield as the United Kingdom and United States.
She has had previous roles for councils that involved regulation, and she saw education as the other side of the coin.
“The more educated people are, the easier it was to regulate, because people could see the benefits.
“If people are educated, people are better stewards of the land.
“If you look at land with a geologist’s eyes you get a completely different idea about why the regulations are there.”
In terms of geology, Waitaki had “everything”, Mrs Morriss said.
“We have volcanic and marine sediment, braided rivers, faults, basement rock – there is huge diversity.”
Mrs Morriss has lived in Oamaru for the past five years.
She visited the Waitaki district several times for field trips when she studied at Otago University.
She would like to liaise with Otago University about field trips, to expand on the geographical knowledge of the district.
“Science is all about observation, you have to try and figure it out – it’s like a puzzle.
“A lot of work has been done in the Waitaki Valley, but we are still discovering.”