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Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

UF in New Zealand - Biodiversity and Conservation

Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Study Abroad Program, will NOT be offered Summer B, 2024

More Information: Unfortunately, this study abroad class will not be running Summer B 2024 and will not run in the foreseeable future.

Course Titles and Credits

WIS 4905 Biodiversity Conservation and Management (3 credits)
WIS 4905 New Zealand Flora and Fauna (3 credits)

WIS 4905 Study Abroad Syllabus

Course Blogs

Click below to learn more about what the class did in New Zealand each year. Lots of photos and descriptions!

Summer 2022 Course Blog

Summer 2019 Course Blog

Summer 2018 Course Blog

Summer 2017 Course Blog

Summer 2016 Course Blog

Summer 2015 Course Blog

Summer 2014 Course Blog

Summer 2012 Course Blog

Summer 2011 Course Blog

Summer 2010 Course Blog


Course Description - (New Zealand PowerPoint)

New Zealand student groupThis 5-week, experiential program introduces students to New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna and local/national efforts to conserve and restore biodiversity.  New Zealand is a biodiversity hotspot with 1865 endemic (i.e. found nowhere else in the world) plants, 63 endemic bird species, 47 endemic skinks/geckos, 2 tuataras, 2 endemic bats, and 4 endemic amphibians.  It is also home to a large number of endemic invertebrates, fish, and marine species.  New Zealand is known as “clean and green” but faces many environmental challenges to retain its unique natural heritage.  Since Maori first stepped onto the land nearly 800 years ago, and after European colonization over 200 years ago, humans have dramatically impacted New Zealand and many remaining species are in danger of going extinct.

Not unlike many places around the world, developed urban and rural properties are situated near or in habitats that sustain native plant and animal communities. Conserving and restoring biodiversity in highly-modified environments is a struggle, and the focus of this course is to expose students to how “kiwis” have tackled this problem.  The decisions made by scientists, landowners, policymakers, developers, and the general public intersect in unique ways and ultimately determine the success of any biodiversity conservation program.  Topics will span both the natural and social sciences, including human dimensions of natural resource conservation and basic ecology.

Students will be based in a small college town, Lincoln, located just outside of Christchurch on the South Island.  Many biodiversity conservation and restoration projects in New Zealand involve conserving remnant bush, managing urban and rural properties, planting native vegetation, rearing and reintroduction of rare native species (e.g., kiwis), and the eradication of introduced, pest mammals.  Special emphasis is given to the design and management of urban landscapes as they pertain to biodiversity conservation.  In the first part of the course, students will learn about the flora and fauna of New Zealand, the historical and current impacts by Maori and Europeans, and strategies used to conserve biodiversity.  The second part of the course will explore the human dimension side of conservation and the role of planners/policymakers, developers/landscape architects, landowners, and the public.  Day and overnight field trips will be conducted in and around the Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps, Banks Peninsula, and the West Coast.  These frequent field trips will be combined with lectures by various experts in the field of conservation ecology and planning.  Students will come away from the course with an understanding of the challenges and solutions to implementing conservation strategies in growing communities.


  1. Learn about ways to conserve, manage, and restore natural habitat and to promote biodiversity in urban and rural environments.
  2. Examine the relationship among planners/policymakers, developers, and the public and their roles in conserving biodiversity.
  3. Explore the unique flora and fauna of New Zealand.

Course Text Book

Hostetler, M.E. and Meurk, C. 2008. Conserving and Restoring Biodiversity in New Zealand Urban and Rural Environments.  Landcare Research, Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, NZ

Course Schedule

Week Date Topic
1 June 30 Orientation, course introduction, objectives, definitions, historical context, NZ flora and fauna, field trips
2 July 7 NZ flora and fauna, restoration projects, field trips
3 July 14 Restoration projects, low impact development projects in Christchurch, field trips
4 July 21 NZ policies and planning strategies, Canterbury and Christchurch biodiversity strategies, challenges and solutions to implementing biodiversity conservation, field trips
5 July 28 (cont.) NZ policies and planning strategies, Canterbury and Christchurch biodiversity strategies, challenges and solutions to implementing biodiversity conservation, field trips


  1. Housing:  Both room and board are provided at Lincoln University Dormitories, Lincoln, Canterbury ( Students have access to the internet and phone on campus. City bus service is available to Christchurch.
  2. Travel:  A 12-seater and an 8-seater van are rented to transport students on day and overnight trips. The 8-seater van is used for luggage. Most day trips are around Christchurch. Overnight trips include visits to Greymouth (West Coast); Arthur’s Pass (Temple Basin, Southern Alps); Kaikoura (Maori Marae visit); and Akaroa (Hinewai Reserve). Students will stay in a mixture of hotels and lodges.  On some day and particularly overnight trips, students will need to purchase their own meals.

Program fee includes:

Tuition for 6 credits, housing, most meals, overnight excursions plus transportation, day field trips, guest speakers, international health insurance and emergency medical assistance.

Costs for the course (does not include airfare)