NZ Ecological Society field trip
Tuesday 23rd November, 2010On Monday 22 November, twenty-one delegates attending the NZ Ecological Society conference in Dunedin took part in a stimulating and sometimes exciting field trip organised by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.
The coach trip from Dunedin was enlivened by commentary from botanist Peter Johnson, and on arrival at the Westpac Royal Albatross Centre, delegates were welcomed by Irene Scurr (Chair - Otago Peninsula Trust) and Lala Frazer (Founding Trustee - Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust). The delegates were then given an update of the albatross season by Lyndon Perriman, followed by a keynote presentation from well-known author and conservationist Neville Peat.
Neville discussed the idea of using the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve programme as an ultimate objective for the work of the recently established Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group. He then talked about the Lance Richdale biography project and the work of this ground-breaking and largely self-taught 'citizen scientist' involving royal albatross and yellow-eyed penguins.
Delegates then visited the jointly owned Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust/Dunedin City Council Okia Reserve, and enjoyed both the presentation by Shaun McConkey (Chair - NZ Sea Lion Trust) and the arrival, as if on cue, of an immature male New Zealand sea lion. Following a well planned strategic retreat by delegates, the sea lion flopped down and basked in the sun.
Lunch at the University of Otago, NZ Marine Studies Centre was followed by an hour long session on jewelled gecko conservation, with contributions from David Agnew (DOC), Carey Knox (University of Otago researcher) and Shaun Murphy (Otago Peninsula landowner and conservationist).
The afternoon concluded with a visit to the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust's Otapahi Reserve at Allans Beach, where delegates enjoyed the view of yellow-eyed penguins landing and making their way up the hill to their nest sites. Afternoon tea was provided off the back of the Trust Hilux and delegates returned to Dunedin in time for conference registration at 5.30pm.
The Trust acknowledges the contribution of all those speakers involved and the delegates who kept up with a very demanding and action packed programme.