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New Zealand Earth Systems – Fall Semester



New Zealand Earth Systems – Fall Semester Programmes

The New Zealand Earth Systems Programme analyzes current environmental issues arising from the interface between nature and society. The five-week field camp takes advantage of sites on both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. Students will explore the Bay of Plenty, Mt. Ruapehu,  Banks Peninsula, the Southern Alps, Kaikoura through a series of interconnected field modules. In addition, the fall program goes to Tonga to study marine ecology.

During field camp, students learn the field techniques needed to solve the environmental issues. Following field camp, students transition to University of Canterbury or the University of Auckland (spring semester only), where they enroll in four courses, one of which is a research methods course based upon data collected in field camp.

2019 Fall Semester Field Camp: June 14th –  July 9th, 2018

The 5-week field camp is divided into several interrelated modules. Focusing on field and research based education, students study how the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and anthrosphere systems interact to form the entire New Zealand Earth System.

2019 Fall Field Camp Modules (subject to change):

    • Module 1: Volcanoes – giveth life and taketh away:Introduction to field observations Ben gives a short talk at Red Crater, Mt. Ngauruhoe in the backgroundthrough volcanology, hazards, and geothermal energy. Volcanoes bring to light a major problem in measuring and mitigating human environmental impacts, and that is the void in our understanding of how the planet has been impacting itself. Volcanoes can be a threat to society, but they are also a major source of geothermal energy New Zealand relies upon to meet its energy demands. The North Island of New Zealand is one of the most volcanically active regions on Earth. The magnitude, frequency, and environmental impact of eruptions from 300 thousand years ago to the present can be quantified in both time and space through careful field observations. In this module we will first observe and map the products of volcanic eruptions and discuss their impacts on civilization. A special focus will be placed upon introducing field mapping, observations and recording these observations in field notebooks. Finally we will look at how New Zealand is currently exploiting geothermal energy to meet its energy demands.

    • Module 2: Kaitiakitanga, Maori perspectives on natural hazards, resource management, and environmental restoration, Bay of Plenty. At the Marea with Dan!The concept of kaitiakitanga (which loosely translates as ‘guardianship’) played a crucial role in traditional Maori society, and is increasingly sought as an environmental paradigm in contemporary settings. As kaitiaki, Maori were responsible for ensuring the viability of land and resources for the following generations. Guidelines and methods were developed to meet the needs and requirements of traditional Maori communities. In this module, we will investigate some of the indigenous methods used and the challenges contemporary societies face when assessing how to implement the principle of kaitiakitanga in the 21st century. Students will be exposed first hand to the concept of kaitiakitanga by investigating various issues facing Bay of Plenty communities.
    • Module 3: Tropical Marine Ecology and Community Fisheries, Kingdom of Tonga.  While in the Tonga, we will identify inhabitants of the coral and sea grass habitats, map reef and coastal environments of Tongatapu and Atata, and assist with community projects. In collaboration with staff from the Ministry of Fisheries, Tonga, we will also collect data to assist with reef health, conservation and resource management.Tongatapu is the main island of Tonga where Tongan culture is complimented by industry and tourism. The island nation faces many issues, including climate change, economic growth and food security. We aim to better understand the issues facing island nations and to contribute to the development of their fisheries and environmental initiatives.
    • Module 4: New Zealand Marine and Coastal Ecology, Kaikoura Peninsula. Following our two weeks in Tonga we compete the program on the South Island. Located 180 km north of Christchurch, the Kaikoura Peninsula is home to extensive rocky shores and a marine canyon only 500 m off the Canterbury Coast. It is also central to the forests, rivers and mountains of the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. Students will begin the week in Kaikoura exploring the flora and fauna of the rocky shore, noting the changes due to recent earthquakes and observing oceanic influences of the peninsula and near shore environment. We will then be introduced to members of Te Korowai o Te Tai Marokura, a local community group, and assess potential avenues for research to complement the implementation of their marine strategy ‘Sustaining Our Sea’ vision. Specifically, students will learn how the recent earthquake has effected the local megafauna (fur seals) and intertidal zone!
The field camp experience will transition into a semester at the University of at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ

University of Canterbury Programme Details

Tuition – 2019: $20,750 USD    

      1. Tuition includes all 5-week field camp costs (lodging, food, ground transportation, activities, etc).
      2. Semester tuition
      3. Travel and health insurance
      4. Academic advising
      5. Skidmore Transcript
      6. Pre-Departure Services
        1. Application and Visa Support Services
        2. Housing Support
        3. Course Selection

Other Program Costs:

      1. Housing: $4,650 USD
      2. USA – Raro – NZ Airfare –  $1,500 – $2,000 (approximated) – This includes flights between Rarotonga and New Zealand
      3. Board: Self-catered approximately $200 NZD per week
      4. Books: Approximately $400 NZD

“I couldn’t be more impressed with Frontiers Abroad. The field camp they organized was beyond anything I anticipated. The amount of stuff that we fit into five weeks was incredible. I learned as much (if not more) in that time than I have in any of my semester long college courses. Dan, Max and Darren are all great, as well as the numerous visiting professors and other assorted experts we spent time with throughout field camp. In my opinion, one of the best things about field camp was how many different topics we covered. Whether your major is Geology, Chemistry, Engineering, etc. etc., the knowledge you gain will be relevant and you’ll learn a lot. And it’s not all work- we had plenty of time to enjoy snorkeling, hiking and finding swimming spots 🙂 I would strongly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in any aspect of environmental science. I’m only a few weeks into the actual semester here in Auckland, but I love it so far! Choosing to come to NZ with Frontiers Abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life. If you’re considering applying, stop thinking and do it already! You won’t regret it.” Jamie Shannon – 2010 Pomona College and Frontiers Abroad student