Discover: Marlborough Sounds Conservation on arapawa island, New Zealand

"I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery - air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, 'This is what it is to be happy'". -Sylvia Plath

From the bustling city of Wellington, we catch a ferry to Picton.

We board a smaller boat that will take us to Arapawa Island.

Aubrey, a ranger with the Department of Conservation, welcomes us to the the beautiful island!

We set up camp and prepare dinner in cook groups.

We settle in for the night and rest for the busy week ahead.

Morning comes and we hike up a steep incline with spectacular views to begin our project!

Our goal is to clear a track through the dense bush in order to catch a lone possum that endangers the island's fragile ecosystem. Australian possums are invasive pests that thrive in the New Zealand climate, killing trees and destroying the native forest. The process of preparing the area for trapping could take up to four weeks, and similar possum-removal projects have cost millions of dollars.

“Of all of our work, this is our number one priority. There are not a lot of places where you can take a one hour boat trip and encounter so many endangered species. For the DOC this is very important work… it is an absolutely massive help.”

We follow behind a DOC ranger with tools in tow as they clear away the big trees and shrubs ahead with a chainsaw.

Some students carry fence posts over hilly terrain. These posts will anchor the traps.

Our trail reveals a window to the ocean!
We leave a cairn behind for Group B to find at the end of our trail-blazing!

After a long day of conservation work and physical labor, we head downhill to our campsite for some well-deserved rest!

The Moon Rise

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