Overseas volunteers

And for overseas volunteers...bien venido, wilkommen, dobro dosli, bien venue!

The Ark in the Park hosts overseas volunteers who come for longer periods of time. Over stays of weeks or months they canget the knowledge of how a large conservation project operates, an appreciation of the special environment in which we work, and especially hands-on experience carrying out the special tasks that need doing, which can vary from computer entry of biological data, assisting in predator control in the forest, to helping in threatened species management.

Commonly we help to arrange short periods of time at other projects to add more experience of conservation the New Zealand way!

Most of these volunteers are studying or have studied land management, ecology, or various branches of the biological sciences and interning with the AIP project gives them a different perspective from that of their home country.

The positions are voluntary so there are no salaries, and volunteers are responsible for making their own arrangements for accommodation and food. The Volunteer Coordinator can provide information and advice regarding this.

For further information, contact our Volunteer Coordinator.

"Helmet Cam" from Maurice Weststrate:

Maurice worked in the Ark as an intern in 2015, and has put together a short video of some scenes on the move, taken while carrying out his activities here. Click here to view.

Goodbye and Best Wishes to Adrien

In 2010 the Ark was fortunate to benefit from six months of work from Adrien Martineau, who displayed amazing energy and skill, both on the ground where he walked many kilometres to plot bait station positions, and also at a computer, where he applied GIS analysis to analyse bait uptake.

His research report can be downloaded (see link below); in the acknowledgements section Adrien says:

"Special thanks to my research supervisor Dr. Mark Bellingham for the trust and independence he let me have in my work, as well as his family for all the good times spent in their caravan.

Thanks to the whole team of Ark in the Park, volunteers, contractors and rangers for the great mood every morning before going trampling in the bush. Andy, Peter, Garry, Scott, Lee, Jason, Rikky, Laurence, Maurice, Karen, John, and all of the others...

Thanks to the Forest & Bird team, Nick, Maj, Mandy, Michelle... Thanks to all the beautiful Kiwis I met, Nick, Jo, Sherab, Rana, Phil, Louise, Louis, Elliot, Vagra...

And finally thanks to the bush, for its magnificent Kauris, Ratas, KieKie, Supplejack, Cutty grass and for all of these beautiful walks during my six months in New Zealand.

Sorry for all the people I forgot, but it would add at least 20 pages to my report !"

All of us at the Ark send our thanks back to Adrien, not only for the his assistance, but also for his unfailing cheerfulness and courtesy when overcoming so many challenges and difficulties.

To download a copy of Adrien's report[click here]

A volunteer reports:

My time in the bush for Ark In the Park

Five months ago, after a 25 hour flight, I arrived in Auckland. My name is Masha Leenen and I am a Wildlife Management student who travelled all the way from the Netherlands to New Zealand to study the reintroduced North Island Robin population in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

Already on my first day in the dense bush of the Cascade Kauri Park I saw my first pair of Robins. I was amazed by their inquisitive and friendly character. Compared to European bird species, the North Island Robin can almost be described as tame. In order to monitor their breeding success, I first had to find the territories of the Robins. Throughout the five months of my study I therefore fought my way through supple jacks and other obstacles in the bush. This was the most difficult part of my internship, considering the size of the area in which the Robins were released but it also gave me the chance to discover beautiful streams and remote waterfalls.

Once the territories were found, I was able to monitor the North Island Robin more closely. The search for their nests thereby was the most exiting part although it sometimes took me a couple of hours to follow the female to her nest. By using an extension mirror I was able to monitor the development of the eggs in the nest and calculate the hatching day. This was particular important for the banding of the chicks, which usually took place at about ten days after the chicks had hatched. I applied several leg rings of different colours for future identification of the birds’ origin and gender. Once the chicks were banded and carefully put back into the nest I was able to see them grow independent throughout the following weeks of their development until they left the territory.

Being so close to an endangered bird species and getting the chance to monitor their behaviour and breeding activities was an unique and breathtaking experience.

I am very pleased with the knowledge I gained - not only about the North Island Robin but also about conservation methods in general. Therefore I want to thank all of the volunteers of Ark In the Park who are spending their free time in the bush and without whom a project like this would not be possible. In special I thank Karen Colgan and John Sumich, my supervisors, for their support and the opportunity to be involved in this great project as well as for unforgettable funny moments in the bush!

I hope to meet more organisations in which people are working as hard as you are to enable endangered native bird species to return to their natural habitat!

Thanks for the lovely time!

Masha Leenen

Click [here] to download a copy of the report that Masha completed on her return to the Netherlands (PDF file, 3.8MB)

Next: Help the Ark from your home


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