This three and a half-week experiential program will examine resource conservation and the natural, and related social, history of New Zealand’s South Island. In this course you’ll use New Zealand as a case study to examine different cultural perspectives on the three pillars of sustainability: environment, social equity, and economics. The program travels to many of the stunning national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, and coastlines of New Zealand to learn from knowledgeable local experts and practitioners, including professors at Lincoln University, the University of Canterbury, and Otago University, government officials (e.g., Department of Conservation staff), iwi (Māori tribes), and scientific research bodies (e.g., Landcare Research).
The program follows a circular route around the South Island, stopping at a diversity of ecosystems along the way. City time includes days in Christchurch, which is one of Lonely Planet’s Top 40 places to see in 2014 due to its innovative rebuild after a series of devastating earthquakes, and the quaint university-oriented Dunedin. Meanwhile, Aoraki/Mount Cook, the country’s highest mountain, and the wild West Coast provide rugged landscapes to learn about alpine ecology and geology and glaciology. And field studies along the coastal areas of Kaikoura, where you can swim with a pod of wild dusky dolphins, and Abel Tasman National Park, where you will kayak and hike along golden sand beaches, offer lessons about the effects of tourism on the natural environment.