Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.
Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.
- Looking through the photos, does this look like the kind of place you would like to go? What kind of risks would you have to be prepared for? What would you most look forward to? What would you be apprehensive about?
- Looking at the standfirst (the words under the title) check your understanding of vocabulary. What is a chasm? What is meant by an ‘emaciated trickle?’ What does it mean to be ‘tantamount to’ something?
- If the hydropower scheme went ahead, the river would be reduced to 10% of its flow – a “remnant trickle” that would “provide life support for aquatic creatures.” Does 10% sound like it would be adequate to you? What do you know about the habitat preferences of the blue duck/whio? Would this species cope with a 90% reduction in water?
- Only one percent of the world’s rivers remain in their natural state. What might be advantages to New Zealand protecting the rivers that are not yet altered by technology? Would the personality of a river change after it was impacted by a hydro-dam? Do you think we have any kind of moral obligation to allow natural places to retain the form and personality they had before humanity began to interact with them?
- The writer says that for kayakers, removing the flow of the Morgan Gorge would be like “ripping the last chapter out of a thriller.” What do you think he means by this comparison?
Activity: Nature Journaling
It’s great fun to go outside with a pencil and paper to do some careful observation and sketching. If you have some watercolour paints, coloured pencils or crayons you can take these too and add some colour.
You will need:
- Paper (either loose paper, or a journal-sized blank book)
- A pencil
- An eraser
- Something to press on while you’re outside
- Coloured pencils, crayons or a palette of watercolours and a brush (optional)
Step One: Collect your materials and head outside. Find a plant or animal to look closely at and draw. It could be anything –even a clump of daisies or some grasses in the pavement would be perfect.
If you choose something big like a bush or tree, it works well to choose one small part, such as one sprig of leaves or one flower, to draw.
Step Two: Make a drawing that is as detailed as you can make it. Add some colour and a title if you want to.
Step Three: Add any notes that you can. Are the leaves serrated or smooth? Hairy or shiny? If it’s a plant, are there any insects on it? If it’s an animal you’re drawing, what is it doing?
You might like to add a border or find out the Latin name for what you were drawing.