The Sir Peter Blake Trust, in partnership with DOC, Antarctica New Zealand, the Antarctic Heritage Trust, and NIWA are announcing 14 awards in total this year, eight more than last year.
The Blake DOC Ambassadors (18-25 years) will be working on four different projects that range from living and working on the remote off shore Maud Island to working on the large-scale Cape to City ecological project in Hawke’s Bay.
As well as experiencing the ‘hands-on’ elements of their studies they’ll also be developing relationships and partnerships in their field of interest.
DOC’s Outreach and Education Manager Sarah Murray says this is a great opportunity for young leaders with a passion for New Zealand’s natural environment to work alongside DOC staff on conservation projects.
“These young leaders will be our conservation champions of the future. They will spread the word to their peers, schools, businesses and community groups about what’s needed to help conserve our special wildlife and places,” says Murray.
Shelley Campbell, CEO of the Sir Peter Blake Trust says the programme is unique. “It gives our Blake Ambassadors the opportunity to access expertise and opportunities that are very rare at this point in their studies or career.”
“The Blake Ambassadors are all outstanding young people. It’s the quality of the programme, the participants and our partnerships that make it so successful,” says Campbell.
Wellington Islands Award
Awarded to Timothy Logan (Christchurch) and Emma Kelman (Dunedin) - 7 to 24 December 2015
They will join with Island Rangers to deliver work programmes on three Wellington region islands – Kapiti, Mana and Matiu Somes. The wide and exciting range of work planned includes threatened species monitoring, weed control and pest monitoring and the chance to live on site and experience the life of an island ranger.
Hawkes Bay Landscape-scale Ecological Restoration Project Award
Rachel Cooper (Howick, Auckland) and Alice Ward-Allen (Pukekohe, Auckland) - 8 to 27 February 2016
These Ambassadors will work with DOC rangers and partners on the Cape to City project, to gain a “mountain to sea” big-picture view of three exciting landscape-scale ecological projects, which cooperatively enhance native biodiversity in the Hawke’s Bay region. Work will include trap and bait station setting and monitoring, feeding Kaka, preparing petrel nest boxes, Kiwi and Pateke monitoring and reptile monitoring.
Flora Restoration Project Opportunity
Emily McCarthy (Tauranga) and Natalie de Burgh (Havelock North) - 8 to 27 February
The Blake DOC Ambassadors will be working in Kahurangi National Park on the Flora Stream Restoration Project, which includes the large stoat control operation to protect native species such as whio and great spotted kiwi. Their work will include snail monitoring, stoat trapping, kiwi telemetry and monitoring of footprint tracking tunnels alongside the local DOC ranger and volunteers.
Maud Island Lizard Project
Jamie Darbyshire (Hawera, Taranaki) - 7 to 21 December 2015
This is a lizard-monitoring project on Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds to assess the state of the island’s lizard population and habitat. The focus is on monitoring geckos and skinks, with a particular focus on the striped gecko. Jamie will work and stay on Maud Island with the resident rangers.
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Blake DOC Ambaddadors 2015-2016
Rear, L-R: Jamie Darbyshire, Emily McCarthy, Natalie de Burg, Timothy Logan
Front, L-R: Alice Ward-Allen, Emma Kelman, Rachel Cooper