EcoQuest has a considerable commitment to service learning. The EcoQuest-UNH program is intricately connected with the New Zealand community, environment, and economy and the issues affecting them. Wherever possible, EcoQuest aims for its students and staff to work together with community interest groups, schools, universities, research institutes, industry and government agencies to contribute to ongoing efforts to understand and resolve questions of concern to the country and its people. Our focus is on building better knowledge and understanding through good science and effective communication.
Representative outreach efforts involving EcoQuest students and staff during the course of the regular teaching and research program illustrate our approach to service learning.
- Assist schools and community groups with the implementation of native plant re-vegetation efforts in reserves, private lands, public domains, and riparian areas.
- Provide voluntary services (often through field exercises) to Regional Councils, the Department of Conservation, local iwi or community groups to collect baseline information or to survey and monitor the response to particular restoration efforts. For example, monitoring presence/absence of introduced mammalian pests and predators following eradication and control operations, monitoring success and breeding of reintroduced native species as well as monitoring threatened species recovery.
- Ecological monitoring on off-shore islands in the Hauraki Gulf through field exercises and research projects focusing on kiwi, skinks, weta, birds and vegetation.
- Assist with community initiatives to promote local environmental protection and management.
- Assist the Wharekawa Marae Committee with riparian restoration.