Inspiring a love of conservation

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Motivated to get into conservation by an inspiring university lecturer, Carolyn King, WITT Te Pukenga kaiako Georgina Ngametua wants to use her tutor role to motivate others to work in the field she loves.

“Teaching conservation is more than the skills and knowledge I can share and more about igniting people’s passion, harnessing their enthusiasm for the environment and showing the range of jobs they can have in conservation,” says Georgina.

Georgina likes to share the ‘why’ behind routine tasks and complex information to give them meaning and context. Some of the myths Georgina is quick to dispel is that conservation is only about trapping pests or being out in the field 24-7.

“There’s a wide world of conservation that I want to reveal for people, it’s not just about being the best trapper or an outdoorsy person.”

After graduating from The University of Waikato with an environmental science degree, Georgina volunteered and networked to get her first role working on the predator-free 2050 roll-out with Taranaki Regional Council. She also spent four years working for the Department of Conservation.

In addition to her role at WITT, Georgina is the chairperson of the Ngā_motu Marine Reserve Society, and volunteers her time in a variety of ways, including being an Experiencing Marine Reservices (EMR) snorkel guide, and checks traplines around the region.

Going into her second year of teaching on the New Zealand Certificate in Conservation (Operations) (Level 4) and New Zealand Diploma of Environmental Management (Level 5) Georgina says it is a dream job. It combines her passion for conservation with her strengths of relationship building and connecting with others and her organisation and planning skills.

The broad programme touches on the scope of conservation from the practical components of trapping and monitoring pests through to understanding and applying legislation.

“Ākonga receive a smorgasbord of conservation – it’s a taster of tasks and jobs that make up the conservation field and it can fast track the networking and work experience that leads to paid work.”

Conservation has wide appeal, but Georgina says it helps if you have a natural curiosity and interest in life and the world around you, and a sense of wonder about the big picture.

“You can gain the physical stuff and awaken curiosity, but you can’t teach passion and enthusiasm.”

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