Monday, January 11, 2016

11 January 2016: A long-awaited post!

To all who have been faithfully checking our trip blog hoping to read the exciting news about our travels: Sorry!  Our trip has been so action-packed and our days so long that my blogging has fallen by the wayside.  I'm happy to report that all is going well, and, despite the busy-ness of the trip, everyone is having a great time and in good spirits.

At this point in the trip, we're in Westport (South Island) for a few service projects and to visit the site of 'pancake rocks' in Punakaiki.  Yesterday, 11 Januanary, we worked with Michael Kingsbury (Volunteers New Zealand) to plant ~200 New Zealand flax (Phorium tenax) at the Kawati Beach Reserve.  The group (17 students and 3 faculty) jumped right in an planted with a vengeance: we finished our service in <1 hr!  Michael was pretty impressed with our efforts.

From Westport today, we travel to Punakaiki to see the famous 'pancake rocks' then travel further south to Franz Josef, where we'll visit Fox Glacier tomorrow.  After a brief stay in Franz Josef, our group, which consists of students and faculty from Ohio Northern University (ONU), splits: the ONU group heads to Milford Sound in the Fjordlands National Park, and the MSMC group heads to 'adventure capital of the world': Queenstown.
Our group listens to Michael Kingsbury as he describes the project at Kawatiri Beach Reserve in Westport.

The MSMC students working hard to plant flax in the dune vegetation at the Kawatiri Beach Reserve.

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