Contributed research cakes

We have had interest from others to post their research cakes – so this is the page for you!

Curious Minds

curious mind

This cake came from Trish Fraser and was made to celebrate the completion of a project supported by MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds fund. Their aim was to help children realise that science surrounds them; demonstrate to them just how important science is in their daily lives and increase their interest in science for later in life; and help increase their competency for engaging in scientific issues that challenge our society, possibly even in scientific careers.   During the project, teaching resources were provided to teachers of year 7/8 children from 6 schools in the Selwyn District to help the teachers prime their students for a visit to Plant & Food Research, Lincoln. The children spending a morning doing hands on activities, learning about the wide and varied research that goes on to produce potatoes. Later a workshop was held with the teachers to evaluate the impact of the visit and explore ways for the local researchers to engage with schools in the future.

Graduation cupcakes

Louis’ nephew Jordi graduated and so his sister Danica sent up graduation cupcakes. Note the “W” on the chocolates frogs representing University of Waikato.

Climate Change and Onsite Wastewater Treatment

Jen Cooper’s dissertation compared the water quality renovation functions of different drainfield types, examined mechanisms of nitrogen removal, and evaluated the impact of climate change on contaminant removal. Her cake represents the single-pass sand filter and drainfield of the septic system from which she got effluent for her experiments at the University of Rhode Island, sent to us by supervisor Jose Amador.

Amazing New Soil Scientists

kids and soil profile

What a pleasure! We received this photo of budding new soil scientists who found a complex soil profile, which they converted into a research cake. They describe their work here: “You will remember we did a bit of treasure hunting with some of our friends. We found multi layers of soils and rock. With our mums help we found some different soil scientists who helped explain  what the different layers mean. We also found some websites that describe Waikato soil profiles. Some local scientists recommended sites to us too using Mum’s twitter and facebook. Sites we looked at were the New Zealand Soil Data Maps and Soil the world beneath our feet and this site about NZ soils and Waikato ones.  The profile of the soil we found looks a lot like the Te Rapa series but we are on the other side of the river.” Awesome work guys and thanks for sharing your photos and adventure!

Does NZ have good Soil?

christine allan hewitt

At a recent seminar in Wellington, Allan Hewitt, Senior Pedologist at Landcare Research outlined new approaches to measuring soil natural capital and related this to land use decision-making.   The audience of policy-makers and scientists enjoyed the seminar  – and then to celebrate Christine Harper created a research cake!  The cake represents soil natural capital (crunched up gold crunchie bars) in the landscape of a sparkling blue lake and river, pasture with cows (brown smarties) and a forest (green smarties).  This is the first in a short series of seminars on recent work on soils and land use to celebrate the International Year of Soils.

Windsor loamy sand State soil of Connecticut

Connecticut, USA. It's the state soil, Windsor loamy sand from Margie FaberA contribution from Margie Faber, who is a retired USDA soil scientist, depicting the State soil of Connecticut. Margie briefly describes the soil below:

The Windsor series consists of very deep, excessively drained, rapidly permeable soils formed in glacial meltwater sediments. Some areas formed in sand dunes swept by winds from the Connecticut River Valley as ancient glacial Lake Hitchcock receded. The largest acreages of Windsor soils overlie groundwater aquifers of sand and gravel.

USDA TAXONOMIC CLASS: Mixed, mesic Typic Udipsamments


Three cakes below donated by Trish Fraser (President NZ Society of Soil Science) – Thanks Trish

birthday cakeThis cake was made to celebrate a colleague Frank Tabley (soil science technician)’s 60th birthday. Frank has spent a lot of his research career conducting field trials including a lot of soil solution sampling (depicted as white tubes with red tube attachments for suction). He has also extracted lysimeters from plots – as shown by the brown chocolate cylinders in each plot. The little man is meant to be Frank doing neutron probe measurements! The mini funnel (white) represents rainfall measurements and the soil is layered with stones (nuts!) at depth. And the truck is pulling a trailer with soil samples on it and looks like it is starting to get stuck in the mud (continuous cultivation!!). The plot numbers are, of course, randomly assigned, one plot representing each decade with suitably vivid flag signs and the largest plot number is for Frank being 60! Frank’s 60th birthday happened to closely coincide with the NZSSS’s 60th anniversary in 2012 so we had a double celebration.

sustainability cake

The cake above was made to welcome Sustainable Production Portfolio manager, Derek Wilson at the start of Plant & Food Research in early 2009. It depicts Derek sitting atop a mountain (in the Alps) surveying a sustainable NZ landscape (Canterbury) over which he is leading research activities! It shows paddock with different crops, some being cultivated, some arable, some grass with sheep and some with bales of straw and one with an irrigator. There is of course also a farm house, a river, a boat and a few trees.

arable cake

This last cake made by Trish was to welcome her new boss Roger Williams (who took over from Derek Wilson when he retired). The cake depicts the arable and vegetable industry with a range of crops being grown – e.g. veggies like cabbages and pumpkins, grass seed, arable crops being baled and transported. There are also some potatoes in rows being irrigated by a pivot.