Jobs at DOC: Community Relations Officer, Claudia Babirat

Department of Conservation —  01/08/2011

Every Monday Jobs at DOC will take you behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation.

This week we look at Community Relations Officer, Claudia Babirat:

Claudia with her favourite toy

At work…

Name: Claudia Babirat.

Job: Working in media and communications for Otago Conservancy (officially, a Community Relations Officer).

What kind of things do you do in your role?

I tell stories—through TV, magazines, the paper, our Otago newsletter ‘Good as Gold’ and web publishing.

Heading up to Macetown with the TV3 news crew

What is the best part about your job?

I’ve just made a series of short documentary films about various DOC and community conservation work. The films include: the Kiwi Ranger scheme, a new community-led initiative called Project Gold (that encourages people to plant kowhai), Grand and Otago skinks, working with concessionaires, a hut warden who’s volunteered at Aspiring Hut for the past 17 years (!) and more…

Aside from making films… I love the fact that I learn something new every day. Also the people—DOC staff are some of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Persuading people that their stories are worth telling.

What led you to your role in DOC?

Disillusionment by the fact that most of the wildlife docos I used to work on were shot overseas. I want to tell stories about the cool things we have right here in our own backyard.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

I premiered three of my short DOC films the other day at lunch and people laughed in all the right places. That made me happy.

The rule of three…

Three loves

  1. Adventure travel
  2. Being a hunter-gatherer
  3. Underdogs like Peripatus, Boeckella dilatata and longfin eels (they are cool)

Claudia and Pete on their 7 month trip around Australia

Three pet peeves

  1. People who say ‘you are so lucky’
  2. Squishy white bread
  3. Being late for anything

The secret paua spot!

Three foods

  1. Crusty German bun with Fleischsalat (a type of luncheon mixed with gherkins and creamy sauce, yum)
  2. Tom yum goong
  3. 500lb steak on a campfire grill after forgetting to eat all day, washed down with a beer

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  1. My house in Broad Bay on a rainy day with the fire roaring.
  2. On a tube drifting down the Wakamarina River from Pinedale Motorcamp to the family farm.
  3. Low tide at Mussel Point at Hannah’s Clearing on the West Coast to collect dinner.

Claudia and her CT110 on Fraser Island, Australia

Favourite movie, album, book

  1. Movie: Microcosmos
  2. Album: The Witches of Eastwick (it’s a musical)
  3. Book: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell — two years ago I went to Corfu to track down some of the places and critters that Gerald Durrell wrote about.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

See the world as much as you can before you’re expected to be a grownup. Failing that—just don’t grow up!

Tramping with Pete and the kids along the West Coast

Who or what inspires you and why?

Everything, but my Mum is pretty special.

Mistletoe monitoring (or lessons on how to be a monkey) with Graeme Loh

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A cartoon artist.

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?

I don’t know, I kind of like it here. Having said that, I’m just about to go on leave to shoot a documentary on Macquarie Island for four months.

If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

New Zealand falcon, they literally see the world from a different perspective.