By Sarah Ensor, Partnerships Ranger in Rangiora
Last month 176 senior students from 23 secondary schools worked alongside 57 scientists/taxonomists, 24 university students, 26 teachers and 16 helpers to discover and document species in the Nina Valley, Lewis Pass.
The idea for an ‘Ecoblitz’ in the Nina Valley started almost 18 months ago with Tim Kelly, a teacher at Hurunui College. Tim approached some like-minded people and a group was formed. This group comprised representatives from Hurunui College, Lincoln University, DOC, Hurunui District Council and specialist volunteers.
Over $33,000 of sponsorship was raised to cover all the costs of the event and this meant that the event was accessible to all students, regardless of their financial circumstances.
The weekend offered students 119 field activities and workshops, each lead by an expert scientist. Participants worked side-by-side to discover and document native species of Nina Valley in a methodological and educational manner.
The term ‘Ecoblitz’ was coined to reflect the detailed research into the ecology of the forest, shrub, grasslands and waterways around the Boyle River/Nina Valley. 17 sites in these different habitats sites were selected, based on surveys conducted previously by Lincoln University, and thus provided a baseline on which to compare data and repeat in future years.
Lincoln University is collating all the data which will be sent to students, this includes researching an unidentified sample that may even be a new species!
You can find out more information about the event on the Nina Valley Ecoblitz website.