A special day in New Zealand
Today is 22 September in New Zealand and it's a special day here for several reasons. Lord of The Rings fans will know that it is Bilbo Baggins' birthday. Despite the weather, which today was a cold downpour and overcast skies, the calendar tells us it's the southern hemisphere's Spring Equinox. For us at the NOLS branch in Aniseed Valley, today our third semester starts their first section in the field: canoeing on the Clarence River.
Students on our third New Zealand Fall Semester arrived in Nelson, New Zealand, a few days ago. They spent their first two days briefing at the branch with their instructor team. The group had time to organize at their gear, bag their food, and genrally orient themselves to being in the bush for the next 77 days.
The students began their expedition in Kaikoura with the local iwi (Maori tribe) where they were able to learn about New Zealand's indigenous culture. They visited historic village sites, looked at native plants and their uses, collected shellfish and learned traditional cooking methods. They also had the honor of spending the night in the Kaikoura community marae (meeting house).
Today the group started their canoe section at the confluence of the Clarence and Acheron rivers. They will paddle for 23 days on the Clarence and finish where the river meets the Pacific ocean. This particular river provides an excellent classroom with its diverse ecosystems and progression of whitewater.
New Zealand Fall Semester - Section 3 -- 9/19/2013 Schedule:
19-20 Sept: Briefing/prep time at the NOLS Branch in Aniseed Valley
21-22 Sept: Cultural section in Kaikoura
23 Sept to 16 Oct: Canoeing
16-17 Oct: Branch switch
17 Oct to 8 Nov: Mountaineering
8-9 Nov: Field switch
9 Nov to 3 Dec: Hiking
3-4 Dec: Clean-up/de-issue/graduation at the NOLS Branch in Aniseed Valley