Lincoln University students learn about Te Waihora

For the past two years the Waihora Ellesmere Trust (WET) has helped Lincoln University use Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere as a case study for their LINC 101 course.

LINC 101: Land, People and Economy, is a compulsory course for every student at Lincoln University. The main aim of the course is to introduce students to land-based issues including the major drivers of land use change and their biophysical, ecological, social, economic and cultural implications.

Adrienne Lomax, General Manager, WET, says it’s great to have every student at the University exposed to Te Waihora and some of the restoration work currently being undertaken at the lake.

“Coming to the lake gives all the students, from a wide range of disciplines, a chance to understand the unique ecosystem of Te Waihora,” says Adrienne.

“When the students are at the lake we want them to do something practical and meaningful, so we ask them to collect data that we can use for future evaluation,” she says.

dscn7028-croppedShannon Page, Lecturer of LINC 101 says Te Waihora is used as a case study because it brings together a number of societal components.

“Te Waihora brings together social, cultural, environmental and economic dimensions to a case study, says Shannon.

“On the field trip students visit an area of the lake where native plants have been re-introduced to the environment. Rather than the students being passive observers, we get them to contribute to an aspect of the native planting restoration by measuring the health of some plants and their surrounding ecosystem,” he says.

“By doing this we hope the students can contribute to the monitoring programme and inform subsequent plantings,” says Shannon.

“The data being collected by the students will help us determine the effect planting is having on the ecosystem,” says Adrienne.