The ecology of heart, soul and river

Just imagine spending 11 days in the wilderness, rafting, sea-kayaking and mountain-biking and pondering the big questions about life, all with nature as your teacher.

This is exactly the approach to environmental education taken by A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand. ‘At the heart of A Rocha’s environmental education is experiential learning,’ explains Dr Andrew Shepherd, National Co-Director.

Together with other Christian organizations, A Rocha runs E3 (Equip, Explore and Empower) wilderness expeditions for senior school students. Each trip focuses on faith and character formation, leadership development and conservation awareness and practice.

In preparation for this year’s expedition, a reconnaissance trip was made to check the safety of the river which had been radically reshaped by the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016. Andrew adds, ‘Christian leaders from Scripture Union, Adventure Specialties staff, board members and E3 funders joined our team for five days while we navigated the length of the Clarence/Waiau-toa modelling quality experiential environmental education and trialling environmental sampling methods that will form part of future expeditions.’

Freshwater scientist and A Rocha trustee, Richard Storey (left), led the science and got the team to take a closer look at water quality and invertebrate life. (Photo: Andrew Shepherd)


Liked this article? Enjoy more environmental education stories in the A Rocha International News Issue 66
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