At Forest Hill students will learn about the rich forest community that would have once covered the limestone outcrops of the Southland Plains.

In a field trip to Forest Hill students will learn about the rich forest community that would have once covered the limestone outcrops of the Southland Plains.

With the teaching resource, students will gain knowledge of different plant species, investigate rock formations, and explore making medicinal remedies from Māori clture.

View the resource

Forest Hill Scenic Reserve (PDF, 480K)

About the resource

  • Levels 3 - 6

This environmental education resource is designed to give you ideas for planning exciting and experiential learning activities outside the classroom.

The Forest Hill Scenic Reserve has a walking track which is steep in places but is well graded, and takes around two hours to walk one way. If you do not have time to walk the whole track you can adapt activities to suit the Loop Track which is a one hour return walk from the Forest Hill picnic area.

The Forest Hill ‘Super Site’ resource aims to help you and your students explore the geology, forest life and human history of this area.

Background information is included for teachers, as well as curriculum links, getting there information and other considerations to help you with planning your trip.

Pre- on site and follow-up activities provide students with a range of experiences in, about, and for the environment.

Super sites are designed to give you a hand to plan exciting and educational learning experiences outside the classroom. They are aimed at upper primary and lower secondary students and focus on a selection of parks and reserves administered by Department of Conservation (DOC) in your region. The sites chosen represent a range of possibilities and are reasonably accessible.

Forest Hill Scenic Reserve map.
Map of Forest Hills Scenic Reserve

The suggested activities encourage learning in the environment, enabling the development of skills, attitudes and values that students gain from experiences in the environment.

Background notes and activities assist study about the environment, raising levels of knowledge, understanding, awareness and sensitivity to the environment and environmental issues.

Foster the opportunity to participate, take action and do something for the environment, either as an individual or a group.

For teachers

More activities are provided in this kit than you may have time for in one visit, so plan your choices before the trip.

Activities that include an action that will help the environment include 6, 7 and 15.

Activities that involve students in exploration and experimentation in the field include 1, 2, 10 and 12-14.

Activities with a creative focus include 8, 11 and 16.

Activities requiring students to do investigation and research include 5 and 6.

All the information that students need to complete the activities in this kit are included in the teacher notes, except where those activities require students to do research.

What to bring

A retractable tape measure is needed for activity one, a hand lens would also be helpful.

A camera and tape measure are needed for activity two.

Students will need pencils/pens and copied of the Forest Detective Worksheets and Leaf Bingo cards.

Activity 10 requires topographical map 260 E45 Winton and E46 Invercargill.

Paper and crayons/soft pencils are needed for leaf rubbings for activities 13 and 14.

Two rubbish bags are required for activity 15.

Cross-curricular or specialised

Getting out of the classroom gives students an opportunity to study the whole environment, unrestricted by subject barriers.

Sites can be used to meet goals from specific curriculum areas, or different curriculum areas simultaneously. This is an approach that mirrors the interconnectedness of the environment. For instance, this resource meets the objectives from the Place and Environment strand of the Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum; Body Care and Physical Safety, and Outdoor Education strands of the Health and PE in the New Zealand Curriculum and the Planet Earth and Beyond and Living World strands of the Science in New Zealand Curriculum.

This resource also provides excellent opportunities for students to develop essential skills and attitudes from across the range of curriculum documents.

Education for the environment

Take the opportunity to make students aware that the places they are about to visit are part of the heritage of all New Zealanders and therefore the responsibility of all. Leave No Trace in the margin is a good resource for reinforcing this point.


Schools are reminded of the need to do a risk analysis and management plan for their visit (your school Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible). Helpful documents include:

  • Education Outside the Classroom: Guidelines for Best Practice (Ministry of Education 1995)

  • Managing Risks in Outdoor Activities (Mountain Safety Manual 27, 1993)

  • Water Safety Across the Curriculum (Water Safety New Zealand, 2000)

Pre and post-visit activities

To get the best value from a field trip, teachers should plan good lead-in and follow-up activities. If students have some formative ideas about what they might be about to find they will observe in a more focussed way and therefore develop their concepts.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will gain knowledge of different plant species
  • Students will investigate rock formations
  • Students will explore making medicinal remedies from Māori Culture

Learning areas

  • Science
  • Social sciences

Links to curriculum

  • Science: Living world: Ecology
  • Planet earth and beyond
  • Social sciences: Place and environment (Maori)


  • Geology
  • Plants
  • People
  • Animals

Publication information

This supersite was developed by Catherine Brimacombe on behalf of the Department of Conservation.


Education Officer

Murihiku / Invercargill Office
Phone:   +64 3 211 2400
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   7th Floor
CUE on Don
33 Don Street
Invercargill 9810
Postal Address:   PO Box 743
Invercargill 9840

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