Social Engagement

& Outreach

Bodeker Scientific is committed to getting involved with and supporting the local and wider New Zealand community. Here, you can read about some of our community engagement and outreach activities.

Project-based learning at Bodeker Scientific

Greg Bodeker pitched several project-based learning projects to Dunstan High School students, and two students decided to take on a project each!

  • Niall Asher developed "HouseAI" - an automated marketplace where software robots with some level of artificial intelligence (AI-bots) connect house buyers and sellers according to criteria and preferences, and manage trades according to a fixed arbitrage.

  • James Avenell developed the host program and a player program for the "Bodeker Scientific Game of Life" - a game which Greg designed in his head 30 years ago, but never realised... until now. The "Game of Life" is being further developed, so watch this space!

Greg provided the project specifications and mentored Niall and James through the projects, which contributed to their Achievement and Unit Standards.

Annual sponsorship, scholarships and outreach at Dunstan High School

Bodeker Scientific annually sponsors the local high school, Dunstan High School. We are a Platinum Sponsor, and also provide 2 x $500 scholarships annually to students, and host students as summer interns.

In addition, Greg Bodeker and other scientists in the team often visit the school to encourage an interest in science and what it means to be a climate scientist. The team have given career talks, featured in filmed interviews, and Greg delivers talks to encourage young entrepreneurs and offer advice on setting up your own business.

Central Otago Python Programming Challenges

Bodeker Scientific has run a Python Programming Challenge over the last few years, with cash prizes! The competitions encourage students to develop their Python programming skills - having Python coding expertise is becoming an increasingly sought-after skill in data science, physical sciences, mathematics, and many other fields. The challenges have run over several months each, stretching students to apply theoretical knowledge from school to new problems.

Check out our Python Programming Challenge page to learn more.

100 women, 100 words ... Infinite Possibilities

Jordis at Bodeker Scientific participated in the 100 women, 100 words ... Infinite Possibilities exhibition which has now gone online and can be accessed at This exhibition was part of Otago Museum’s Full STE(a)M Ahead project, which was designed to help more females of all ages to see the range of opportunities made possible through engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM).

As part of the project, on 22 March 2021 Stefanie then gave a talk about her experiences and journey as a female scientist, at Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery in Alexandra.

Curious Minds community participatory project

In 2020-2021 Bodeker Scientific was awarded funding from MBIE via the Curious Minds - Participatory Science Platform fund, to run a community participatory science project titled 'Science, Art, and Education Visualising the Impact of Climate Change'. In the project, we worked with local students at Dunstan High School to create and code a 3D animated, and interactive visualisation model of the Queenstown Lakes District (QLD). The model shows how different climate variables such as temperature and precipitation have varied, and will vary into the future with climate change in the local area.

In the second part of the project, we conducted a social experiment designed by the students. The goal was to investigate how effective the developed 3D model was as a communication tool to engage people and enable them to understand the issues and impacts of climate change, by making them visualise how things will look in their own neighbourhood.

Visit our project page to learn more.

If you're interested in using the 3D model at your own community or educational event, find out more here.

Sponsoring a University of Canterbury student in 2020

Bodeker Scientific is sponsoring student, Adam Conway as part of the University of Canterbury Software Engineering final year project. Supervised by Leroy, Adam is researching the use of Deep Learning for ensemble based short term weather forecasting.

Greg gives talk to Royal Society - Wanaka Branch

Greg Bodeker gave a talk at the Royal Society Wanaka Branch on 6 March 2020. The talk was titled "Random walks in Climate Science at Bodeker Scientific" and covered:

  • What is Bodeker Scientific and how it functions.

  • Some background about climate change.

  • Some key results from a climate change report that Bodeker Scientific did for QLDC.

  • An overview of projects currently underway at Bodeker Scientific.

The talk was attended by around 80 people.

The Central Otago News ran this article the day before Greg's talk.

NASA Visiting scientist meets with local student

In October 2019, before he left to go back to the USA, Larry Thomason who was visiting Bodeker Scientific for a couple of weeks took some time out of his schedule to meet with a young student who was very keen to chat to a scientist from NASA.

Here is Dylan with Larry following their chat about aerosols, ozone and the new SAGE III/ISS instrument (picture courtesy of Ryan Lelievre).

Apparently, Dylan has spent the last couple of days talking to his teachers and classmates at school about this.

I guess this means we might be seeing you work at NASA in a few years' time Dylan! 😉

MindPlus Kids

In August 2019, Greg Bodeker was invited to give a talk to some visiting students from MindPlus in Queenstown. The talk "What it is like to be a scientist" was given at the local school, The Terrace, so that local students from Alexandra could also attend the event. Here's Greg with the kids at the school!

"Climate Change in Central Otago" - Invited talk to U3A* Cromwell

Greg Bodeker was invited to give a talk at U3A in Cromwell. On 17 May 2018 Greg gave the presentation "Climate Change in Central Otago". You can see a copy of Greg's presentation here.

About U3A: University of the Third Age (U3A) is a response to the idea that human life is divided into three periods: firstly, childhood and schooling; secondly, child rearing and work; and thirdly retirement. The 'Third Age' is seen to provide the greatest opportunities for learning and understanding because it is during this period of retirement that the idea of a University as a community of those who seek greater understanding through learning can be put into practice. Central Otago is one of the many areas in the world in which a University of the Third Age has been founded. U3A courses run in Alexandra, Cromwell and Wanaka.

Professor David Griggs speaking tour of New Zealand

In 2017, Bodeker Scientific brought Prof David Griggs, former Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute in Melbourne, to New Zealand for a speaking tour on the subject "The relevance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to business in New Zealand". We organised for Prof Griggs to give his presentation in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Cromwell.

During his talks, Prof Griggs helped attendees to find out how their business was likely to be affected by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, how NZ business can help to achieve these goals set by the UN and how they will be of benefit to the world and good for business! A number of attendees enjoyed the presentation so much they requested access to the slides that were shown on the day. Prof Griggs was happy to share, and his presentation is available here.

MAD4CO Video Competition

In November 2017, Bodeker Scientific sponsored MAD4CO’s video competition for local schools. Chris Cameron of Bodeker Scientific also helped in mentoring the students and judging the final videos. Year 12/13 students were encouraged to produce a 5-10 minute video that demonstrated their change in behaviour that was made in response to this project and that led to reducing the impact of climate change, improving sustainability and/or led to better protection of NZ’s unique environment. The goal of the project was to encourage students to think critically about life choices concerning sustainability and protection of NZ’s environment.

There were a number of great entries to this competition and the videos are now available for viewing on YouTube (Camptastrophy, Ink Through the Pages, Now, Sustainability In Central Otago, The Changers, and The Simple Things).

All of the films made were shown at each of the schools in full school assemblies and the films were also publicly shown at a screening held at the Alexandra Community Centre on 3 August. The winners were announced at the pubic screening.

Local media also covered the competition.

Climathon 2017, Christchurch

Greg Bodeker and Laura Revell attended the 2017 Climathon in Christchurch 27 - 28 October 2017. Greg was one of four judges while Laura was one of the invited experts. The purpose of the Climathon was to create teams to come up with ideas that will allow Christchurch to adapt to a changed climate, mitigate carbon emissions and communicate the challenge to others. The teams had 24 hours to develop and then present their ideas to the judges. Greg and Laura's attendance at the event was sponsored by the Deep South National Science Challenge.

Community Climate Change Forum

On Saturday 7 November 2015, the Community Climate Change Forum was held at the Alexandra Community Centre. The purpose of the forum was to solicit ideas from the community as to how Central Otago might respond to both the threats and opportunities posed by climate change.

The comments and results from the forum were collated and you can read the full report here.

You can view the video of the event here.

Beer, Pizza and Climate Change

Bodeker Scientific hosted a visit by Dr Jim Salinger on 26 November 2014. As part of Jim's visit he gave a public talk in Alexandra at a "Beer, Pizza and Climate Change" community event.

58 people attended the event, which began with a short presentation followed by nearly 1.5 hours of questions, answers and discussion. The evening was sponsored by Bodeker Scientific, Commercial and Rural Insurance Brokers, McIntyre Flannery Tait (MFT) chartered accountants and business coaches, Monteith’s Brewery Bar Alexandra, and Farmlands Alexandra.

The following column was in our local paper (The News - Central Otago) the following week...