Teacher’s hol­i­day is one for the birds

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By STAFF RE­PORTER

Wanaka teacher and con­ser­va­tion­ist Christina Green­wood will be spend­ing her spring count­ing yel­low-eyed pen­guins on a re­mote sub­antarc­tic is­land, after win­ning an En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tor Award worth $6000 from the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

Green­wood, 52, is one of two award re­cip­i­ents an­nounced last week by the trust, the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, Yel­low Eyed Pen­guin Trust and Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The other re­cip­i­ent is Voy­ager NZ Mar­itime Mu­seum Ed­u­ca­tor, Frazer Dale, 42, of West Auck­land.

In Novem­ber, they will sail 465km south with four DoC work­ers to spend 10 days at the re­mote and un­in­hab­ited Auck­land Is­lands.

The Auck­land Is­lands are des­ig­nated as a marine re­serve and wildlife sanc­tu­ary.

The rugged en­vi­ron­ment has proved too harsh for peo­ple who have at­tempted to set­tle there.

Eight ship­wrecks are known to have oc­curred around the is­lands.

Green­wood is an ex­pe­ri­enced sailor and spent 2008 sail­ing the Pa­cific Ocean with her hus­band Ross and chil­dren El­lie and Erin.

‘‘But I have never been to the South­ern Ocean, so that will be a chal­lenge. I have been to Ste­wart Is­land, but no fur­ther . . . My mother nearly fell over laugh­ing when I told her I was go­ing to count pen­guins,’’ she said.

Green­wood is from north­ern Eng­land and moved with her fam­ily to Wanaka 12 years ago.

For most of that time, she has taught ge­og­ra­phy, tourism and so­cial stud­ies at Cromwell Col­lege and the ‘‘crash course in yel­loweyed pen­guins’’ will be right up her al­ley.

She will live on the 28m sail­ing boat Evohe, cap­tained by for­mer Cromwell man Steve Kafka, and ex­pects to be up be­fore 5am to get ready for a four-hour stint on shore count­ing birds.

‘‘It is good pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for me. I am hop­ing to write some cur­ricu­lum ma­te­rial around it in so­cial stud­ies, sci­ence and English, par­tic­u­larly for the ju­niors.

‘‘I am look­ing for­ward to com­ing back to talk to kids about it. We as ed­u­ca­tors have got to make sure they are well in­formed as they are go­ing to be the decision-mak­ers of the fu­ture. Hope­fully my jour­ney might in­spire young peo­ple in Cromwell and Wanaka to get in­volved in youth Peter Blake ex­pe­di­tions,’’ she said.

She is also keen to talk with com­mu­nity groups about her ex­pe­ri­ences.

Sir Peter Blake Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Shel­ley Camp­bell said the trust was thrilled to award grants to Green­wood and Dale.

The teach­ers would con­trib­ute to an im­por­tant en­vi­ron­men­tal project.

Photo: MAR­JORIE COOK/FAIR­FAX NZ

Awild life: Cromwell Col­lege teacher Christina Green­wood, 52, of Wanaka will be sur­vey­ing sub­antarc­tic pen­guins in the Auck­land Is­lands in Novem­ber.

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