Green teen on Peter Blake mis­sion

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - SKARA BOHNY

The Nel­son teenager fa­mous for his vege-pow­ered van will take his en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism to the next level with the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

Neil MacMil­lan was a del­e­gate in the Sir Peter Blake Trust’s Youth En­viro-Leader Fo­rum (YELF) last year, and now he and 20 other teens from around New Zealand and Samoa will be work­ing with the Trust on the Young Blake Ex­pe­di­tion.

While work­ing with other YELF mem­bers on is­sues like plas­tic pol­lu­tion in the ocean, the op­por­tu­nity arose to ap­ply for the ex­pe­di­tion.

MacMil­lan, pas­sion­ate about en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism which he de­scribes as ‘‘just a part of his life’’, ap­plied.

He was ac­cepted, and on Sun­day 25th he and the rest of the ex­pe­di­tion set out to the Ker­madec Is­lands on the HMNZS Can­ter­bury.

Known in Nel­son for his petrol­free van, he plans to take next year as a gap-year to visit coun­tries in South East Asia to learn about de­for­esta­tion and the plight of orang-utans. His longterm plans in­volve study­ing how cli­mate change will ef­fect ecosys­tems.

MacMil­lan said they hadn’t been told yet the full de­tails of what the Blake ex­pe­di­tion would cover, but he thought they would be mon­i­tor­ing lo­cal dol­phin pop­u­la­tions, among other things.

‘‘Some of the pre­vi­ous years, the work that [stu­dents] have done has gone on to be used in the re­search the sci­en­tists are do­ing,’’ MacMil­lan said.

‘‘I think one year they dis­cov­ered a new species of sea­weed.’’ The ex­pe­di­tion will last 12 days, giv­ing the stu­dents plenty of time to learn from the sci­en­tists on board with them.

HMNZS Can­ter­bury Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer Matt Wray said he and his crew were ‘‘thrilled’’ to have the ex­pe­di­tion on board.

‘‘The whole crew takes part in de­vel­op­ing these young lead­ers and their knowl­edge of the ocean and the crit­i­cal part it plays for New Zealand,’’ he said.

This ex­pe­di­tion is the fourth that the HMNZS Can­ter­bury has been in­volved in.

Sir Peter Blake Trust en­vi­ron­ment pro­gramme direc­tor Han­nah Prior said it was ‘‘amaz­ing’’ to see the de­vel­op­ment of stu­dents in the ex­pe­di­tion.

‘‘By in­creas­ing their un­der­stand­ing of New Zealand’s unique and spe­cial places like the Ker­madecs, the op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges they face, they re­turn as pas­sion­ate and life­long ad­vo­cates and am­bas­sadors for them,’’ she said.


Nel­son’s own ‘‘veg­gie van’’ teen Neil MacMil­lan will go on the Sir Peter Blake Trust ex­pe­di­tion.

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