Forests 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 settlement. 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.
With over 80% of our native plants and animals unique to New Zealand (UK has only one endemic species), exploring them, to quote Jared Diamond, "is the closest a biologist can get to visiting another planet". Previously New Zealand was home to the world's largest flightless birds, the moa (up to 3 m tall) and still is for their diminutive relatives, the kiwi. Our rainforests and beech forests are the target of sustained pest management and our conservation goal is for the country to be free of the four most damaging animal pests by 2050.
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:
- 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.
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.