2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


GRAVLEY, D.M.1, HIKUROA, D.C.H2, BORELLA, M.W.3, KENCH, P.S.1, WILSON, C.J.N1 and OWEN, S.1, (1)School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand, (2)Institute of Earth Science and Engineering, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand, (3)Frontiers Abroad, 8705 Centennial Drive, Jackson, WY 83001, d.gravley@auckland.ac.nz

New Zealand is a living textbook with a forever changing landscape, impacted by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, debris flows, landslides and floods. These natural processes are spectacularly revealed by the landscape itself and the young geologic record. As a result, an understanding of New Zealand's geologic past not only yields global insights into active Earth processes, and magnitude-frequency models for hazards assessments, but also provides an invaluable baseline for students to measure how the natural environment has been impacted by humanity. In New Zealand, our geoscience education models have not reached their full potential and we can learn much from evolving U.S. models. To take advantage of what our natural laboratory has to offer and better prepare undergraduate students for careers in an evolving world, the School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science (SGGES) is developing two inter-related geoscience educational initiatives: the Earth Systems Study of Science Abroad Programme (ES3cAPe), and a new Earth Science major.

ES3cAPe is designed for U.S. study abroad students to come to New Zealand and experience a 5 week field camp with a research component that leads into a semester at the University of Auckland. The field camp is divided into modules that expose students to an array of environmental case studies and issues that are regional in scale but national and global in their application. For example, one of the modules combines volcanic stratigraphy, structural geology, environmental geochemistry, hydrology, and environmental economics and politics to tackle issues surrounding a superfund-like contamination site where a lake on indigenous Maori land has been in-filled by pulp and paper waste. This multidisciplinary education model underpins a proposal to establish a new Earth Science major at the University of Auckland. These initiatives recognize that the environmental problems faced by modern society require a multidisciplinary research approach, but channels that attitude into efforts to prepare students for a broad range of academic, commercial and/or government careers in a world where geoscience issues will become central to maintenance of a healthy society.