With an extra million tourists expected to visit New Zealand each year by 2025, Lincoln is re-introducing a unique Parks and Outdoor Recreation major and DOC will fund seven scholarships for students enrolled in this year’s first intake of the programme.
The major, which was previously offered from 2008 to 2014, is the only one of its kind offered in New Zealand.
It is designed to equip students for roles in parks and reserves management, nature-based tourism, visitor services and recreation policy or planning.
“Good management of our iconic natural landscapes and ecosystems is key to the success of the visitor industry. These skills are desperately needed to manage the increase in visitors,” says DOC Director-General Lou Sanson.
“Many of DOC’s current senior managers came from this course, which at the time also attracted overseas participants from South East Asia and Nepal, as it was internationally recognised in helping develop excellent parks managers, be they working for central or local government.”
The major brings together areas of social science and ecology and supports a requirement for sound management of New Zealand’s natural resources, as visitor numbers to protected areas grow.
Lincoln University Parks and Recreation Senior Lecturer Stephen Espiner says recent research has highlighted a pressing need for more skilled workers and the uniqueness of Lincoln’s programme will give students an in-depth knowledge of the discipline.
“There are no other university degrees that allow students to study the specialisation of parks and outdoor recreation,” he says.
“Other universities offer courses that deal with related aspects of parks, outdoor recreation, nature-based tourism and outdoor education, but there has been no development of a coherent suite of courses in this important area.”
Lincoln University Associate Professor Emma Stewart is delighted to report that a higher number of students than anticipated have enrolled in the programme this year.
“It’s particularly pleasing that the major has resonated across the campus, with students enrolled from a number of different degrees, including environmental management, sport and recreation, science, landscape architecture and commerce.”
Students of the Parks and Outdoor Recreation major have until the end of this month to apply for one of the seven DOC-funded scholarships, which are valued at $5000 each.
Scholarship recipients will be acknowledged with certificates in June at a Protected Areas Symposium, convened by Lincoln University Landscape Architecture Associate Professor Mick Abbott in conjunction with the New Zealand Conservation Authority.