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Dear teachers & students,

It is with regret that the 2017 Nina Valley Ecoblitz has been cancelled; we received notice 13 February 2017, that our final funding bid has been unsuccessful.

It has always been our aim to make this event 100% free to all students, but we have been unable to secure anywhere near enough funding this round, despite winning the prestigious Supreme Award at the Green Ribbon awards for the 2014 Ecoblitz. We had over 190 students and a large number of scientists signed up for this year, and we would like to thank you all for your support for the event.

Looking onwards and upwards, we will now work towards creating the 2018 Nina Valley Ecoblitz. Given our fundraising experiences this year, it is likely that students should expect to pay a fee for the event in 2018. Hopefully we will be able to secure enough funding to make sure the event stays free of charge for those students from less financially-secure backgrounds.

In the meantime, if any of you would like to join Hurunui College with your students on a field trip to the Nina Valley, please let Tim Kelly know. We check traps and collect remote kiwi data every third or fourth weekend.

Looking forward to 2018!

Kind regards

The Ecoblitz team

Background

In March 2014, the first ever EcoBlitz was held in the New Zealand in the Nina Valley, Lewis Pass, Canterbury.

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This was an entirely new approach to engaging young people in science. Our aim was to transform how secondary students connected with and learned about nature, valued biodiversity, and understood ecological issues. Over 170 students worked side-by-side in the field with 130 scientists and conservation professionals to collect samples and document species in the Nina Valley (photos). The collection work was designed to continue after the initial weekend of sampling, with all of the species discovered curated for future identification. Species identification also happened both in real time and via the website www.naturewatch.org.nz.

The Nina Valley EcoBlitz has three objectives:

  • Facilitate high school students to work with experts to –
    • learn ecological survey techniques
    • identify plants and animals
    • discuss pressing environmental issues
  • Rigorously collect data on the biodiversity found in selected ecosystems in such a way that surveys can be repeated to measure changes over time
  • Inspire and facilitate biodiversity monitoring and conservation and restoration projects in local sites near participating schools

The 2014 event, which included a follow-up day at Lincoln university in October that year, received amazing feedback from students, teachers, and scientists alike, and won the Ministry for the Environment 2014 Green Ribbon Award for Education and Communications and also the Paramount Green Ribbon Award.supreme-with-1024x682-1

We anticipate the next Nina Valley EcoBlitz will be taking place in 2018

The event is open to:

  • High school students in Years 11-13 (in 2017 – by invitation only through their schools/home schools – maximum 10 students per school in the first round)
  • Conservation professionals and scientists
  • Assistants and volunteers (parents, teachers, and university students)

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The EcoBlitz is geared towards students who are passionate about biology and/or research. Students need to be reliable and fit to work in the field over 2 days and 1-2 nights.

This EcoBlitz is not designed to be used as an assessment opportunity, but the information collected from the event may be used for assessment purposes.

Who is running this event?

This event is managed by a committee made up of individuals from Hurunui College, Lincoln University, the Department of Conservation, and BRaid. The same team ran the 2014 EcoBlitz.

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Where is the Nina Valley?

Near our base camp at the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre, 16 Magdalen Valley Road, Lewis Pass, New Zealand (click on the Google map at the right of this page). It’s about 2 hours drive from central Christchurch, about 45km past the turnoff to Hanmer Springs.