Ex-Fiordland student new Kepler Education Coordinator

Submitted by editor on

May 2013

Jo Marsh appointed new KRtK education coordinator

The Fiordland Conservation Trust recently announced the appointment of Jo Marsh to the position of Education Coordinator for the KRtK project.  This follows the resignation of Caroline Carter from the Kids Restore the Kepler role, a role that she established and developed. 

Caroline’s incredibly hard work and achievements in the first year showed how essential the coordinator’s role is in fulfilling the criteria established by Kids Restore New Zealand.

KRNZ are the main sponsor of the KRtK stage of the Kepler backyard birdsong project, a project described by the Bug Man himself, KRNZ trustee Ruud Kleinpaste, as "the most inspiring project on the planet". 

Caroline’s final task as coordinator was organising the excellent LEARNZ virtual field trip in May which focussed on the KRtK project and involved over 100 schools throughout New Zealand, a fitting tribute to the absolutely committed energy that Caroline brought to the role.  The Trust really valued and thanks Caroline for everything done over the past year.

Involvement in the LEARNZ field trip was also for Jo a great introduction to the role. 

Being an ex-pupil of Fiordland Kindy, Te Anau School and Fiordland College, including a year as Head Girl, Jo (nee Whitehead) knows the local education system.  FCT’s manager, Rachel Cockburn, noted that “Jo will be a fantastic role model for our local students”, being a local kid who moved on to gain qualifications and experience, and then returned to help restore Fiordland’s biodiversity.

A degree in Environmental Management, and a Masterate in Science, Conservation and Ecology, with a thesis on the kakapo, were the result of years of hard work at Lincoln University. On returning to Te Anau after the obligatory OE, Jo worked for the Department of Conservation as a ranger in Science, Research and Biodiversity.  “Discovering a previously unknown population of the critically endangered short-tailed bat beside the Kepler Great Walk was a real career highlight for me,” reported Jo.

Having now established Restoration SolutioNZ, she is undertaking environmental management contracts for DOC and FCT. The recent translocation of robins to Indian Island in Dusky Sound saw Jo in action, undertaking a task to which she is personally committed and that she loves.

Jo sees taking on the education coordinator’s role as an opportunity to bring her technical biodiversity knowledge and experience to the position at a time when the educational framework for the role has been well established by her predecessor, Caroline Carter who had a science teaching background.

Donations from the community to the Fiordland Conservation Trust help fund the part-time education coordinator’s position.  The Trust is incredibly grateful to Ian and Jenny Willans, to an offshore family with a passion for Fiordland and to Kids Restore NZ (who provided a sum in addition to their KRtK project funding), all of whom have ensured the role will be further developed and strengthened over the next year.  Jo's particular biodiversity skills will add real value to that which Caroline has contributed.

 Jo feels “extremely privileged to be able to work for such a forward thinking trust and to play a key role in helping to make the Kids Restore the Kepler a long-term, self-sustaining community project, one that we are all motivated by and working on together.”

As Jo says, “Kids are the future of our planet - connection with nature is critical for awareness, empathy and action for our environment”.

And, as a postscript for the observant ones amongst you, Jo was responsible for the Kepler Backyard Birdsong Report, in the #6 March 2013 edition of Jigsaw, and available by clicking on the KRtK project page.  The recent translocation of robins to Indian Island was organised by Jo as well - report in the #7 edition of Jigsaw, out soon.  You can understand why we're really excited by Jo's appointment.