Forest Ecology

“Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people,” said American statesman Franklin D Roosevelt.

New Zealand’s forests, both native and exotic, are vital to our lives and the natural systems that sustain us. They cycle water between the soil and atmosphere and help make rain. They protect the land from erosion and help prevent flooding. Trees produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, and are valuable “carbon sinks’ that help counter climate change. All these important “ecosystem services” are provided by forests – and humans benefit from them free of charge!


Guided exploration to learn key species and understand the bush environment; Data collection: transect/stratification; Games/activities (juniors) to improve knowledge of New Zealand forest species and their relationships ; Make plant cuttings /plant trees (depending on season); Discussion of environmental management to reduce human impacts; Ferry ride to Mokoia Island or Tiritiri Matangi Island; Guided walk and bird watching; Guided tour of NZ animal park; Presentation on Operation Nest Egg (Kiwi conservation); Falconry display. (NZ Falcon conservation strategy); Stream study.

Curriculum and assessment:

Living World

AS 90925, AS 91153, AS 91158, AS 91155, AS 90713, AS 90714

Forest Ecology


New Zealand’s sub-tropical rainforest is evidence that continental drift once had this land mass closer to the equator. 80 million years of isolation, far into the Pacific Ocean accounts for the very high proportion of endemic plant and animal species but also for the vulnerability of these to exotic competitors introduced by man .
Before people arrived, more than 80% of New Zealand was covered in dense forest. When Maori arrived, large areas of forest were lost to fires, clearance for agriculture as well as setlement. By the time the first European explorers arrived in 1772 about half of New Zealand’s original forest cover had disappeared.

Today, following European settlement, many years of further clearance by loggers, farmers and to make way for towns, we have a total of nearly 6.5 million hectares of native forest remaining – covering around 24% of New Zealand.

Choice of activities

  • Guided exploration to learn key species and understand the bush environment
  • Data collection: transect/stratification
  • Games/activities (juniors) to improve knowledge of New Zealand forest species and their relationships
  • Make plant cuttings /plant trees (depending on season)
  • Discussion of environmental management to reduce human impacts.
  • Ferry ride to Mokoia Island or Tiritiri Matangi Island. Guided walk and bird watching.
  • Guided tour of NZ animal park
  • Presentation on Operation Nest Egg (Kiwi conservation)
  • Falconry display. (NZ Falcon conservation strategy)
  • Stream study

Curriculum and assessment:

Learning area strand: Living World
AS 90925 Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context with direction.
AS 91153 Carry out a practical investigation in a biology context, with supervision.
AS 91158 Investigate a pattern in an ecological community with supervision.
AS 91155 Demonstrate understanding of adaptation of plants or animals to their way of life.
AS 90713 Carry out a practical investigation into an aspect of an organism's ecological niche with guidance.
AS 90714 Research a contemporary biological issue.

Forest Ecology

2020 Prices from

Number of Students
Cost per head

This includes

  • Research, planning, bookings and organisation
  • Facilitation
  • Activities as specified in ininerary
  • Letter to parents
  • RAMS form
  • Gear list
  • A master copy of worksheets
  • Use of specialized equipment
  • GST
  • Saving you a great deal of time and hassle

Not included:

  • Transport (bus, to and from school). Ask us to quote if you don’t have access to your own.
  • Class set of worksheets – it’s more cost effective for you to copy these at school.


Q1. Why do teachers choose to tour with Learning Journeys?

Using an outside provider like Learning Journeys allows you to avoid stress and save time to focus on the core demands of teaching and have more time with your family and friends.
  • Trips are well tried and tested and our local knowledge, New Zealand-wide, is extensive. • We’ll facilitate your trip as well as planning, recce-ing AND booking it (including transport, food and accommodation). Have as much or as little input as you want.
  • Our facilitators are secondary geography or science teachers with years of classroom as well as EOTC experience.
  • Trips are curriculum linked and can include NCEA assessment tasks.
  • RAMS forms, parents letters, gear lists and worksheets developed and provided for you.
  • We’re Qualmarked (Tourism New Zealand has checked us out as a safe, professional, company) and Dept. of Conservation approved.

Q2. Does it cost more for Learning Journeys to organise and run my school's science and geography trips?

Yes it does cost a little more per student. However, you need to factor in the time you'll save by using Learning Journeys. You will also save the cost of relief for staff who would otherwise have come from your school, since Learning Journeys will provide one or more facilitators who will contribute to staff-student ratios.

Q3. What about risk management?

Safety is always paramount in our trip planning and delivery. We are acutely aware of the responsibility of being entrusted with other people’s children. We will provide you with RAMS forms for all activities included in your programme.

Our Health and Safety Plan deals with every aspect of our operations and training. Hazard identification is carried out for every new activity and a RAMS (Risk Analysis and Management System) form is prepared. This process has been audited both by a Department of Conservation approved Safety Auditor and as part of our Qualmark® accreditation

Our teacher-facilitators are trained in safe practice and all have First Aid qualifications. The suppliers we use are fully qualified and experienced in their specialist areas and where available we choose to work with Qualmarked® operators. Their sound safety records are further guaranteed by the Qualmark®, accreditation process.
Qualmark® is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. All accommodation and tourism businesses carrying the Qualmark® have been independently assessed as professional and trustworthy, so you can book and buy with confidence.

Q4. Who are your facilitators?

Our trips are managed and facilitated by qualified science or social science secondary teachers with classroom experience as well as many years’ experience in the field.

Q5. How long have you been running field trips for New Zealand secondary students?

Since 2001. Our oldest client did 12 consecutive yearly 3 day trips to Goat Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Most other schools repeat trips year after year.
Make a booking Contact us
Tour Length
1 day
Years 7 - 13
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 35+ students
From $35 incl. GST
Valid until December 2019
Make a booking Contact us