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What began for Lyn Wade as a step towards being more informed about conservation, has grown into her recent completion of a degree in Applied Science (Bio-Diversity Management.)
Lyn – “I started study in 2007 aiming to do a certificate so I could be better informed in my role as a trustee for Little Barrier Island Supporters’ Trust. I have a fascination and passion for conservation so I looked at part time study options that I could fit around my family commitments and my work as a registered nurse.”
“Even though I live close to Auckland, NorthTec offered the convenience of subjects I could group into two day blocks of part time study compared with an hour here and there through a week. We had small classes and awesome field trips and I got hooked on learning, so I went on to the diploma and then the degree when it became available.”
“I finished my degree in 2014 and I have such a sense of accomplishment. The flexibility of my being able to study at my own pace was also part of the attraction at NorthTec and probably the reason I completed the whole course.”
“I am now Chairperson for Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, and editing a comprehensive book on Hauturu (alongside Dick Vetich). And, in 2018 I received a QSM for services to conservation in particular for work on Hauturu.”
Lyn chose the subject of streams on Little Barrier Island as her special negotiated study third year project for her degree.
Lyn - “The Auckland Council has since requested information from my study, and a PhD student completed a paper on the Hauturu streams, which has been accepted for the New Zealand Journal of Zoology.”
Lyn created a poster to present the information from her study and was invited to submit the poster to the Entomological Conference in Queenstown in April this year. “The posters submitted are usually from Masters students so it was an honour to be involved - and my poster received the award for second place. I looked at the special place Little Barrier Island has in NZ conservation and was also able to compare my aquatic survey with a similar study done 50 years ago."
“I’m now in my 60s and I want to encourage and inspire older woman to study. I feel a lot of women don’t realise they can go back and study and how exciting it is to follow your passion. My daughter is in her 40s and is has followed my lead, graduating from her degree and is now teaching Science at college level.”
“The tutors here have strong professional links which open doors to work experience and this can often progress into...
“Shifting my focus from studying animals, to studying and improving the environment they live in, is one of the best choices I’ve made.” Darlene’s first passion was animals and she planned to study zoology at Massey University until she had a chat with one of the tutors at NorthTec. “He had studied zoology at uni but recommended this degree instead because it offered more field experience and more involvement. He was also incredibly enthusiastic and had a real passion for what he teaches.”
“Staying closer to home also means I can study in Whangarei during the week and go home to my part-time job and connect with family in the weekends. It’s a bit of a balance because I have five younger siblings and my Mum is also studying her degree, so we support each other to make sure we have enough quiet time away from the younger children to study, and take turns managing the household. But I’m happy with my grades and I’m realising I’m more capable than I thought.”
“The course has opened my eyes to a whole new world and has given me new knowledge. I now realise how inter-connected everything is and how a healthy environment supports healthy species.”
Darlene is already applying what she is learning to where she is from. “For my third year project, I’m monitoring with Project Island Song which is a partnership between the Guardians of the Bay of Islands, Te Rawhiti hāpu and DOC. During this process I will be able to build relationships and connections with people in this field. Once the monitoring is done, I will be writing a report on our results which will be beneficial to Project Island Song.”
“The tutors here have strong professional links which open doors to work experience and this can often progress into paid employment. When I finish my degree I’ll take a short break from study to recap and absorb what I’ve learnt as I’ve come straight from graduating high school. I also want to do some volunteering work to get experience in all areas relevant to this field. ”
“I want to acknowledge my tutors and academic advisers for their input and feedback on my writing, and thank my family for their massive support to make my study possible. My long term dream is to make a difference back home with my hapū, iwi and family so that they’re equipped to know the greater context of the environment that we live in. Already my sister is inspired to pursue this degree as well.”
We get to go on various field trips and talk to people in the conservation industry that are making a difference, and...
“It’s so important that as students we have the first-hand experience of the pollution in our region - sometimes you can’t see it until you look for it and it creates more awareness about the problem. We get to go on various field trips and talk to people in the conservation industry that are making a difference, and it is just that invaluable experience of being able to say I have experienced this myself first-hand that is crucial as an Environmental Management student.”
The step from year 12 to here (level 2 to level 5) is a challenge in self-discipline, but I’m so much more motivated...
“I went overseas with my family, and by seeing the extent of what needs to be done, I renewed and deepened my interest in conservation. I realised this was what I want to do and I was keen to start on that journey as soon as possible. By doing the certificate here straight from year 12, I kick-start my career a year earlier, it’s cheaper and more practical than uni, and I’ll have my degree by the time I’m 19.”
“The step from year 12 to here (level 2 to level 5) is a challenge in self-discipline, but I’m so much more motivated to learn. I also love that we have a small class with direct access to the tutors.”
“I’m from Waipu, so it also means we’re learning about our own region. Already I have a new-found appreciation for the inter-connectedness of the environment.”
“I know I want to be part of the change on the planet and I’m keen to travel more with my knowledge. I don’t have long term plan yet, but I know I’m in the right field, that this is what I want to learn, and that opportunities will present themselves as I go on.”
“I’ve learned that if you want to do something, do it. Even if you don’t succeed at first, just adjust and self...
“I’ve always hunted and been keen on fishing and diving but my work life has been in the building/construction industry. When the last venture I was with finished, I decided it was time to study what I was passionate about. I had walked and swum through our natural environment but I wanted to learn some of the science and biology behind how it was all linked together so I stepped out of my comfort zone and signed up for study here for a year. I became so enthusiastic that I’ve continued to level 6.”
“The best thing about the course is the dedication and passion of the tutors and how they deliver their knowledge. It’s also really cool meeting new people with new opinions and new input. I’m naturally reserved so the course has taken me out of my bubble and helped me develop new skills including giving presentations. The challenge for me is the computer and technology but the support is there from both the tutors and younger students, and I can help them with some of my bush experience.”
“By monitoring and interpreting data, we’ve learned that everything we do in an eco-system has consequences, including which plants we introduce. I’m hoping that the course will give me enough confidence to go out in a group and initiate, apply and pass on what we’ve learned. We’re learning a massive amount so it takes a bit to condense it and choose which path to follow after study. I’m keen to get work when we finish and already a few options with local projects are presenting themselves.”
Steve’s long term goal is to work amongst the extensive natural environment around Ruakākā and help enhance it. “Stepping out of my comfort zone to come back to school has been great for me. In my backpack with my ordinary kit of my tools, lunch and safety gear, I also carry my goals and aspirations. That way I keep them close to me so I can keep reviewing them, renewing them and re-filling them.”
“I’ve learned that if you want to do something, do it. Even if you don’t succeed at first, just adjust and self-correct. What you do after you come through those little knocks, makes you a stronger person.”