Archives For Students

Close to 40 year 10 students collaborated with two Rangers from DOC, Taranaki Regional Council, Otaraua Hapu and Waitara Alive, to explore the Mangahinau Stream.

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A partnership between our staff and Marlborough District Council (MDC) saw a traditional teachers’ workshop evolve into something a little bit special this year. Community Ranger Wendy Sullivan explains how Marlborough students taught their teachers a thing or two about conservation.

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It’s National Volunteer Week and we’re honouring the selfless souls who volunteer for conservation—highlighting the diversity of conservation volunteers and volunteer opportunities around New Zealand.

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A hands-on outdoors programme is helping to equip future conservation leaders in the Central North Island.

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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 Nina Valley Ecoblitz team. Photo: Sonny Whitelaw.

Most of the team on the last day

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.

Students conducting plant identification. Photo: Steve Attwood.

Students conducting plant identification

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.

Eripatus. Photo: Bryce McQuillan.

Some excellent professional photographers covered the event and photographed species for ID

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!

Students at the campsite. Photo: Steve Attwood.

Students at the campsite

You can find out more information about the event on the Nina Valley Ecoblitz website.

A fresh look at the humble backcountry hut by Year 12 students at Rangiora High School has brought forward all kinds of new ideas and concepts for consideration.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley

Throughout 2013 DOC Ranger, Jeff Dalley, has been working with visual communications and design students in Rangiora to design a new hut for the St James Cycle Trail, a 64 kilometre track through stunning scenery of mountain peaks, crystal clear rivers, high-country lakes, alpine meadows, sub-alpine beech forest, and expansive grassy river flats.

A prescriptive Standard Operating Procedure for hut design in the backcountry means new ideas and designs are rarely considered, but the project at Rangiora High School was a great way to think of new and creative approaches to building these shelters.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing

The idea was the brainchild of teacher, Carey Prebble, who contacted DOC. Fortuitously a new hut was being considered and DOC staff were keen to collaborate.

The students were given a very specific and comprehensive design brief which would have been exactly what would have been provided to any architect.

The hut design, for 12 people and their bikes, and had to cater to various constraints, including cost, materials, weight and construction complexity.

A final hut design poster.

One student’s final hut design poster

Many of the students had fond memories of staying in DOC huts and wanted to ensure their designs would be attractive and comfortable for future visitors.

DOC staff were impressed with the students’ work, they were truly creative and many of the innovations designed by the students could be immediately incorporated in any final design.

Our photo of the week is in celebration of National Volunteer Week, which runs from the 16-22 June. The theme for 2013 is “He tāngata, He tāngata, He tāngata! It is people, it is people, it is people”.

EcoQuest Education Foundation and Kaiaua Primary School recently got together with local DOC ranger Stephen Benham to do some planting at the newly purchased DOC Rangipo Scenic Reserve. It was a great day for both our university aged students and the primary school kids to get out, volunteer and contribute to conservation in our local area.

Young boy planting with a DOC ranger.

It’s great to see people of all ages getting involved in conservation and working with DOC. Conservation volunteers make an important contribution to conservation in New Zealand and we’d like to thank all our volunteers for their help.


Volunteer with DOC

Being a volunteer is fun. You also get to work as part of a team, share your skills and learn new ones, and experience conservation in action. Visit the DOC website to volunteer with DOC.