Students earn NCEA credits for work in Abel Tasman

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Motueka High School students are the first students to earn NCEA credits as part of their involvement in a pilot education programme in the Abel Tasman National Park.

The “Adopt a Section” programme is an initiative from Project Janszoon and the Department of Conservation where schools take responsibility for a section of the park. The student’s design and implement their own five-year ecological restoration plans for their area in consultation with DOC and other experts.

Motueka High School has adopted a section of the park from Anchorage, over the ridge and down to Watering Cove. In May the school’s Year 12 geography class undertook a research project in their ‘section” which saw them earn five geography credits at NCEA level 2. For some students it was the first time they had visited the Abel Tasman National Park.

Geography teachers Rebekah Wolfreys and Graeme Coleman say they had a fantastic day and it was great to study an area they felt they had ownership of.

“It is such a positive thing that we can get into the Abel Tasman so the students can experience it for themselves and enjoy being hands on. In the past we would have had some students miss out because of cost but thanks to Project Janszoon it is now possible for everyone to take part,” says Rebekah.

The students collected raw data between Anchorage and Watering Cove to assess how relief, climate, soil and vegetation interact to make the various locations different. Staff from DOC and Project Janszoon were on site to provide ecological advice.

Project Janszoon’s Wendy Reeve says it is wonderful to see Motueka High School incorporating NCEA achievements into their work in the park so soon.

“When we launched the Adopt a Section pilot programme, we knew that it would take time for teachers to adjust their teaching and assessments to include field work in the park. We never expected students to have the chance to earn NCEA credits in Term 2 of the first year. We’re thrilled to see this commitment and engagement so early in the programme,” she says.

DOC’s Partnership ranger Rebecca Martin says DOC is delighted to be involved in the programme.

“It is wonderful to be able to offer ecological and conservation-based education opportunities in the Abel Tasman that align with NCEA accreditation. Students can learn in a hands-on and interactive way, while still contributing positively to their yearly workload and required curriculum modules,” she says.

Motueka High School hopes to run the same research project in the park next year and also extend work to NCEA level 3. Thanks also to Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle who transported the students into the park.

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