Graduate Profile

Ayla Wiles - Biodiversity Ranger, Whangarei Department of Conservation
Les Judd – DOC Biodiversity Supervisor

Les Judd – DOC Biodiversity Supervisor

Ayla Wiles - Biodiversity Management

Biodiversity Ranger, Whangarei Department of Conservation

“I get paid to spend my summer at the beach – and doing work I love. I always knew I wanted to work in conservation but I wasn’t sure about academic study, until I got addicted to it. I graduated with my Masters degree in Conservation Biology in 2016 and I’m now working a six month contract with DOC as seasonal Fairy Tern Ranger at Waipu Cove.”

“The work involves advocacy with beach visitors, schools, community groups and the surf club. I also monitor predator control by setting and checking 40 traps, and I monitor bird breeding and fence off areas where birds are nesting. My NorthTec training has been a real match for my work now.”

“I started at NorthTec with the Diploma in Environmental Conservation and loved the balance of practical and academic content so went on to do the degree. My degree research project was on the Bream Head skink which was a brand new species at that stage. This project gave me the experience to get an internship with an ecological consultancy in Wellington where I worked with lizard conservation for a summer after I graduated. While doing that I decided to do my Masters degree and the consultancy kept me on part-time time while I studied.”

“I came back up north when I was made redundant and landed my first contract as DOC Fairy Tern Ranger for five months. I loved it, did another contract as General Ranger for DOC Whangarei office working in the visitor asset and biodiversity departments, then in 2017 got my second contract as Fairy Tern Ranger. I have now secured a permanent position as a Biodiversity Ranger for DOC – this is my dream job!”

“Info gathering and process skills from my skink research project, and course field-based survey exercises, exposed me to a wide variety of species and habitats. It has also given me the tools to think about how to use field data for useful applications. This is all directly relevant to the work I do now. Our course work placement requirements also set up networks for both work opportunities and peer contact.”

“I’m realising that I like working with underdog species like the fairy terns and skinks rather than the high profile species, so I’d love for that work to continue. Meanwhile, back to work on the beach…”


Employer for Ayla Wiles

Les Judd – DOC Biodiversity Supervisor

“Ayla has a real passion for biodiversity and is so motivated. The DOC Biodiversity Supervisor at the time saw her value when she applied for her first Fairy Tern Ranger contract here. She also has a great way with people and builds good relationships so she’s valued in advocacy too.”

“I’m now Biodiversity Supervisor for several DOC projects. Ayla’s NorthTec training is really relevant to her current work. It is practical-based training so she has a lot of actual field skills plus good research and problem-solving skills. She’s also comfortable with team work because their course included some group-based projects."

“DOC is a perfect fit for Ayla for both now and her future. Since the completion of her degree, she has added further skills including excellent writing skills, and she has the confidence and experience to present to groups really well. It will be interesting to watch her career unfold.”


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