December 06, 2017

Outdoor Education Centre gets world class equipment

The Boyle River outdoor education centre no longer has to rely on its closest neighbour for help in case of an emergency.

The centre, which runs programmes for school and community groups across the country, are the proud owners of six specially designed, state of the art GPS tracking and SOS devices.

Development Manager Nick Chapman says the trackers have several big advantages over the mountain radios the centre had been using previously.

“The old radios called through to a service in Christchurch, but there were sometimes delays and the Christchurch service is not manned around the clock so there could be times when no one answers your call. The old radios were also heavy to carry and more difficult to operate.”

Around two thousand children from secondary schools and community groups across the country use the centre each year. There are often several groups out on different courses on any given day so safety is a high priority.

As well as GPS tracking the new devices also feature an ‘OK’ button so groups can let centre management know all is well. Their ease of use means that teenagers who attend the centre as part of their Duke of Edinburgh training can be taught to use them too.

The devices were bought with a grant from the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund and Nick says the money really helps when it comes to keeping the centre’s costs down.

“It means the world to us that companies like Fonterra can help provide these opportunities for kids to come here and experience the activities and at the same time know we have world class safety measures in place.”

Fonterra Grass Roots Manager Kane Silcock says the fund helps groups like the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre that enrich the community and give people the opportunity to take part in activities they may not otherwise experience.