Every Friday Jobs at DOC takes 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.
Today we profile DOC Visitor Centre/i-Site Ranger Ivy Willmott.
Name: Ivy Willmott.
Position: Ranger, DOC Visitor Centre/i-SITE.
What kind of things do you do in your role?
Being one of the front line laydees of goodness and joy at the Franz Josef Visitor Center and i-SITE, I answer phones, radios and lots and lots of questions every day. I chat about everything from the weather, DOC projects, campsites, tramping, day hikes, Great Walks, hunting, fishing, the glaciers, travel, New Zealand, Franz, Fox, eating, drinking, jumping out of planes, riding horses… the list is endless!
We are constantly learning—thank goodness for the awesome DOC website with the answers to nearly any DOC-related question.
I help book people onto whatever activity they want to do, find and book accommodation all over New Zealand, sort out travel plans… basically help folks have the best holiday/trip possible. I LOVE IT!!!
What is the best part about your job?
Helping people smile and enjoy their day and remove the stress that many folks seem to find on holiday! Crazy Moogs!
Every day is a happy day!
Watching the wave of relief wash over folks as bookings are made, travel plans are sorted, and watching the good holiday juju work it’s way back onto their faces as they trot off to enjoy this beautiful country.
Followed swiftly by getting to sample all the amazing activities on offer in the area in the name of research… Yeeaaaaaooooooow! AWESOME! You gotta know it to sell it!
What is the hardest part about your job?
Trying to convince people you have no control over the West Coast weather. Rude people, impatient people, and trying to keep the ability to smile over it all. Not being able to wear bright colours! Ha, nah, it’s all sweet… not much to not be happy about here!
What led you to your role in DOC?
I’m originally from Scotland with a career as a Theatre Stage Manager. Nine years of fun and mischief worldwide led me to New Zealand, where I have been for eight years. Working with environmental community groups in the resource recovery field for the last three years, but having a yearning for the West Coast, led me to Franz Josef.
As well as having a good crew of mates that worked within the department, but mostly the awesome Kiwi team here on the coast and their enthusiasm for their work. The opportunity arose to join the wonderful Visitor Centre/i-SITE team and here I am… BooOm!!!
What was your highlight from the month just gone?
Well, research this month was pretty spectacular. Going on two glacier heli trips was pretty amazing, hmmmmm, so was horse trekking on a crispy sunny spotless winter morning with breathtaking views over Mount Elie De Beaumont….
But what did take the biscuit was my first Area day. Getting to put faces to the names and voices I deal with daily. Getting to see what all the different groups have been up to for the past year. Awesome jobs all round, and that’s just our Area!
The rule of 3…
- My dog Munter.
- Having dreams and ambitions and having them coming true.
- Good recyclers.
3 pet peeves
- Litter on the roadside… actually litter anywhere it shouldn’t be.
- Rude people.
- Rock and roll chick pea gravy and mash (recipe available on request!).
- Roast chicken and veg cooked in the camp oven on the beach at sunset!
3 favourite places in New Zealand
- Any of the wonderful South Island West Coast beaches…. The salty wind on your face, the sound of crashing waves, sunset, wine and good friends—heaven.
- The summit of Treble Cone after a big snow dump, bluebird day, good friends, chocolate and mulled wine. The snowy mountains and Lake Wanaka feeding the soul.
- I have to say, sitting up at Almer Hut having a picnic with the laydees on Boxing Day, looking down the Franz Josef Glacier and out to the Tasman sea was ridiculously special!
Hmmmmm I feel a theme… nature, fine food, fine wine, and fine friends, and I’m a happy gal.
Favourite movie, album, book
- Movie: Oooh a toss up between Big Fish and Cinema Paradiso.
- Album: The Band – The Band.
- Book: The Power of One.
Deep and meaningful…
What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?
I would love to think sense has got the better of me and I would say ‘Do something that will make you money’. Ha, but nope, I think it would be ‘Follow your dream, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it, but maybe learn a skill like welding, or cheffing or hairdressing to help you out of those tight financial spots!’ Hmmmm…. also, ‘Don’t leave it until your mid 30s to try Brandy Alexander’s!’
Who or what inspires you and why?
My mum…. Not only did she teach me the joys of self sufficiency, she always taught me to follow my heart; that no dream is too big, and it’s never too late to change. Always do what makes you happy. She definitely taught me to keep my cup half full.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Stage Manager… from as soon as I knew that was actually a job!
And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?
A bread baking, veggie growing, cheese making, goat milking, fine feast making mum.
What sustainability tip would you like to pass on?
Less is more! Reduce and reuse before you recycle, and if you have to buy something, buy a good make—more expensive, but will last a lot longer than most of the plastic nonsense about these days.
Which green behaviour would you like to adopt this year—at home? At work?
I definitely want to get my veg patch cranking! I finally have a garden space to do this. Wooohooo….
If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?
Definitely a kereru. So plump and happy, hanging out getting drunk on rata berries all day, trying to fly my plump self about, and such beautiful colours!
What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?
Reduce, reuse then recycle. Stop driving when you don’t have to… and when you recycle…WASH and SQUASH!!!
I visited the DOC Visitor Centre / i-SITE in Franz Josef on my last visit to the West coast of the South Island. The staff were very helpful in finding me some accommodation and looking at options for Franz and Fox glaciers. Thanks guys. Looks like you are continuing the fine work down there.