Earth Sciences
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​​​​​​​​Earth Sciences​

Social Impact

2020 did not allow visits to the Earth Sciences Department due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to take them up again as soon as possible.

To find out more about Social Impact at Stellenbosch University, visit the website here.

Climate change lecture for 130​​ Sunvalley Primary pupils by the environmental research team

On the 27 August 2019 a team of ES environmental researchers introduced the grade 6 pupils to the principles of climate change as well as their own exciting work arround this topic especially the Antarctic cruises. 

Dr S Fietz held a lecture on the topic. After that the PhD students Ryan Cloete and Jean Loock engaged in an interactive video session about the ship cruises in the Southern Ocean all the way to Antarctica followed by a lively q&a. The pupils interest in the topic as well as their thoughtfull questions were amazing.

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ESII - Rhenish Primary school visites the department

The Rhenish Primary school's Environmental club visited the departement to learn about different rock types and how we can see through them.
'If I could describe my experience in one word, it would be “fun”! I learned that Geology is not only about rocks, it is also about the earth and what it creates. From minerals to fossils, Geology is interesting, amazing and educational. It would not be surprising if you get hooked immediately!'
Written by Qhama Tyhoda (Grade 5)​
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ESII - SU society with school group from Kayamandi

The Tony Haus Children's Foundation, a SU Society that tutors underprivileged pupils in Kayamandi on a weekly basis, organised a visit to the Earth Sciences department on Saturday 18. August 2018. The group of about 25 pupils arrived at 11.00 to the ‘prac room’ together with some dedicated students guiding them. Dr M Frei gave them some insight to what Earth Sciences is and what is important in becoming and being a geologist. 
​What does a geologist need to go out on field work? 
What do the scientists do with the rocks in the department?  
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How can we examine rocks more closely? 
One method is to grind the rock into a powder and analyse its chemistry. 
Another one is to cut it so thin that you can see through it under a microscope. 
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Fundamentals of Palaeontology & Citizen Science

Three days of Citizen Science (July 9th, 10th & 11th)! The TSEC project at Stellenbosch University has invited teachers to experience authentic, hands-on science projects that they can take back to their classrooms. The data collected during all of these projects are part of ongoing research within local, regional, or even global frameworks. Over the three-day workshop, participants will enjoy a mix of discussion-based, demonstrational, and hands-on projects.

❖ Increase Citizen Science implementation
❖ Form beneficial collaborations between scientist, educators, and students
❖ Level playing field for access and intro to science for students of poverty
❖ Long term goal of increasing enrollment/attendance of diverse students
❖ Development of observational learning and critical thinking

Honours students outreach projects - new initiative

As a new initiative the 2017 ES honours students had to prepare an outreach project on the topic of their honours thesis.

Each student had to prepare one outreach product, such as a newspaper article, a youtube video, an Instagram photo report, etc. 
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The rules were simple:
• about your research, or one component of your research.
• Free format, e.g. newspaper article, multimedia assets ..
• It must be exciting, and raise awareness about your research.

Instead of marks, we decided to give
• prize for the best story/product
• assessed by a committee formed by ES staff, post/undergrad students.
After a pre-selection 3 projects made it to a final round persenting to students and staff:
1st prize: B Grobbelaar for her you-tube video
2nd prize: Z Pienaar for her Instagram report incl. minivideo
3rd prize: Z Harilall/Y Agyare-Dwomoh for contribution to marketing of a water project via several  ​media.

Happy prize winners                                 

ESII (Earth Sciences Introduction-Inspiration)

The department of Earth Sciences has in 2017 set up an initiative to introduce primary school learners to various aspects of geology. Topics range from minerals and rock types to fossils, from ore to metal, and aspects on environmental geology. Visits to the department give the pupils a feeling of what it is like to be at a university. They include a lecture as well as a tour or quiz related to our rock, mineral and fossil exhibition. The leaners have in the lecture a chance to gain hands-on experience with an exercise they work on in groups.

With this initiative we want to:  
  • enhance the awareness of the geological aspects of the nature around us
  • emphasise how crucial resources and their respectful use is for the societies wellbeing 
  • create awareness how environmental geology can influence ou​r daily lives
In 2017 Rhenish Primary Schools Environmental club visited the department as well as the Stellenbosch Waldorf school with their grade 6 class.​
Are you interested in visiting the department and mineral exibition with your class? Please contact Martina Frei:

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  Environmental club of Rhenish Primary School

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 Art work of the Waldorfschool children inspired by their Geology module and tour to Stellenbosch University​

Khanyolwethu and Simanyene High school from Strand visit the department of Earth Sciences 

class photo.jpg On Friday 3.11. a large bunch of grade 11 learners travelled to Stellenbosch to visit the department of Earth Sciences.

They had the chance to enjoy the atmosphere of a lecture hall filled with rock samples and maps used by the university students on a daily base.

At first they heard our PhD  student Ryan Cloete, who gave them an introduction into what Earth Science entails as well as some words about his passion, which is oceanography.

This was followed by more information from Prof Kisters, who told the students what the job opportunities in Earth Sciences are. He works on the applied side of Earth Sciences in close collaboration with ore mines around the country as well as in Africa in general.

class-alex.jpgHe told the students what the requirements for this discipline is – one of the main messages being: You have to stay curious and keep learning all your life.

The trip was organised by Andile Mkandla, who is a 2nd year student at the department Thanks a lot Andile.

He writes:

“It is always amazing to inspire and motivate high school learners. Especially when it comes to promotion of science as a discipline. On Friday, the 3rd of November, we hosted grade 11 learners from the two high schools from Strand, Khanyolwethu and Simanyene High school. The goal was to expose them to Earth Sciences degree and what it entails. The interaction was indeed fruitful to the learners and most of them were inspired to take BSc and Earth Science in particular in 2019.  This was a good initiative and one of many to come in 2018.”- Andile Mkandla.