The South Island program component was a great hit on all scores: academic, field experiences from the Mountains to the Sea, great guest speakers and contributors. A big thank you to all Mainlanders who were part of our program, we could have stayed everywhere much longer!
Our last stop was Charleston on the West Coast. We visited the rainforest and wild West Coast beaches, we were treated to close up look at a small-scale mining operation on the beach, we had lectures and discussions about forest ecology and seabirds, we learned about a small-scale hydro scheme that can solve a pollution problem and provide power (the ultimate win-win solution); we had first-hand encounters with the world’s tallest moss, with ‘fork ferns’ (these are not really ferns) which belong to the most primitive group of terrestrial plants; we cheered on the Westland petrels as they returned to their burrows at dusk, and we saw little blue penguins. Thanks to Kerry-Jayne Wilson for hosting us and for a great couple of days (and for permission to use your photo). Keep up the good work West Coast Blue Penguin Trust!