The Natural Lab - Craigieburn

Here we study alpine ecology, ecology of mountain beech forests (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides), environmental education and nature tourism.

students in field.\

The Craigieburn Conservation Park is in the rain-shadow of the Main Divide and comprises several mountain ranges. A number of montane valleys are easily accessible from the Environmental Education Centre (our base ) and this allows for opportunities to study subalpine vegetation. The park has a 50-year history of scientific research, including plant and animal ecology, disturbance regimes in beech forests, and soil science. The proximity of Craigieburn to Arthur’s Pass National Park provides opportunities for field trips to a number of other important sites.











students in filed with snow covered mountain in the background





“As soon as we arrived at Craigieburn, I realized that as much as I love the coast, I feel so much more at home in the mountains. Hiking above the bushline was a powerful educational experience for me. I love sitting among the plants and trying to decipher their adaptations for retaining and repelling water. It was so nice to feel like a ‘real scientist’, as simple as the activity was. Having such an in-depth look into a specific adaptive function was a fantastic way to understand the complexity of all the tiny little adaptations that plants have to cope with in their environment.”

Rachael Lacey, University of Michigan