lake rotuiti at nelson lakes nat’l park

After a series of one-night visits at various places along NZ’s west coast, we made our way to Nelson Lakes National Park where we would be staying for three nights. Previous EcoQuest groups had gone to Arthur Pass National Park, but this was a change brought on by the proximity to Christchurch and wanting to avoid any aftermath that could have come of the September earthquake (the infrastructure of the area is still fairly damaged). The lodge we stayed at was situated right in the middle of the park in a village with a population of only 80. The theme of this trip was assessing the beech forests of the area and looking at potential sustainability in the forestry industry.

kaka chilling in the tree

Another theme of the week focused on the composition of beech forest and looking at how the honeydew cycle and how it plays a major role in nutrient cycling. Honeydew is actually the excrement of the beech scale insect. You can collect the honeydew from different insects on each tree and eat it. There could be thousands of insects on one tree alone. It’s super sweet and tastes like a lighter version of honey. It is sold in specialty shops around New Zealand.

 

that's honeydew (insect excrement)

After our stay at Nelson Lakes, it was back in the vans! Our field leaders drove us to the town of Nelson to drop us off for our 5-day mid-semester break.

back in the vans

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