Jobs at DOC: Susie Geh, Partnerships Ranger

Department of Conservation —  22/08/2014

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Susie Geh, Partnerships Ranger in Queenstown.

At work

Some things I do in my job include:

I am currently working on an education package for the Wakatipu, trying to grow volunteering in the district, being creative with our events, and still processing the odd permit every now and then.

Susie and friends dancing on the Kepler Track with mountains in the background.

Dancing on the Kepler

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

There is so much passion for conservation in DOC and my job is to try and share that with the rest of New Zealand. It’s not just about getting more people interested in conservation it’s also about changing people’s perceptions of what being involved in conservation means; you don’t have to be perfect you just have to try and do your bit.

The best bit about my job is:

The people without a doubt. My immediate team are great (and that’s not just because they feed me cake). I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some incredible individuals who are making a real difference to conservation in the community.

Cupcake shaped like a sheep.

Sheep cupcake

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is:

I need to mention two people for this one (maths isn’t my strong point). Firstly it would be the late Barry Lawrence, who was an inspiration as a conservation leader and just a great guy to be around. Everyone who knew him has many entertaining and inspiring Barry stories to tell. Second would be my current boss Greg Lind; his ability to lead, support and listen is incredible and I feel lucky to work for him. Plus he is always game to dress up as a miner/jailbird as required!

Susie with Barry Lawrence.

With Barry Lawrence in 2009 when I had just started with DOC

On a personal note…

Susie as a young girl with ginger hair.

So I am ginger after all

Most people don’t know that:

I am ginger. Oh, um maybe it’s a bit more obvious than I thought. How about that I have a cave in Japan named after me—Susie’s Secret Bonsai Garden (my Dad was a cave diver for many years).

The song that always cheers me up is:

Again my maths will fail as there are a few. Groove Armada “I see you baby”, Mr Scruff “Whalefish Song” and Pharrell Williams “Happy Song” (even more so now it makes me think of dancing on the Kepler).

My stomping ground is:

Currently anywhere we can get to from our doorstep in Arrowtown. I love that I can go for a hike into the hills without even getting in my car.

The best piece of news I’ve heard lately is:

That my family are coming to visit at Christmas. I like it when the world gets smaller again.

My secret indulgence is:

Not a secret and if you have it daily it’s probably not an indulgence but it would have to be chocolate, cake, sweets and anything which involves sugar. I can make a pretty impressive cupcake!

Deep and meaningful…

Susie and friends at a frozen lake on the Routeburn Track.

One of my favourite spots – the Routeburn

My favourite quote is:

“We’re in the stickiest situation since sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.” Blackadder

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is:

Look forward not back!

In work and life I am motivated by:

Family, friends and I have to give special mention to my partner Wes.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

Protect what you have as we actually have the chance to make a real difference. In 1,000 years I always  wonder what New Zealand will look and hope that we’ve had the wisdom to do things differently.

Susie walking through snow in the Crown Range.

Exploring from my own doorstep – the Crown Range

Question of the week…

As Queenstown is the home of extreme activities—what’s the most ‘extreme’ thing you have ever done?

My version of extreme doesn’t fit the Queenstown stereotype but it would have to be diving in the Marlborough Sounds. It was a beautiful day and I had an awesome dive, one of my deepest ever, when I came up and was on the boat a pod of dolphins surrounded us and as we headed back to shore I swear I saw two blue penguins swim by. That’s my version of extreme—hardcore happiness!