Jobs at DOC: Jose Watson, Communications Advisor

Department of Conservation —  15/01/2016

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 Jose Watson, Communications Advisor in Hokitika.

At work

Some things I do in my job include: 

I do all sorts of communications related tasks. Some days I’m busy responding to enquiries from the media or putting together blog posts about work DOC is involved with. Other days I’m working on a communications plans and writing media releases. I work on communications projects that tell both internal and external audiences about what we are doing, through a variety of formats.

Jose Watson at a wedding in Baja.

At my cousins wedding in Baja, slapping on a hat in the sun.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

I work with a small team of people that help tell our stories to New Zealand and the world and keep people on the inside well connected. Because we are a government organisation and are accountable to the public, we need to tell people what we are up to and what we are achieving. There are lots of great conservation stories out there that inspire people to get involved and also demonstrate that looking after our nature is the normal thing to do.

The best bit about my job is:

The variety. I’m involved in a diverse range of work with all sorts of different people. DOC is full of really smart people (from scientists to the people who build and plan tracks) and there is knowledge and expertise everywhere. From translocations to track building, it’s all go!

Jose Watson in front of a helicopter, off to paint a hut.

Off to paint a hut with Ranger Liz Ridley

The loveliest awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is:

In my first year at DOC I headed out with the Franz Josef Kiwi Team to Motuara Island. We had a great time catching juvenile rowi kiwi, weighing them, re-banding them and staying out of the way of the dive bombing resident falcon. The island is pest free and completely overrun with native birds, which is amazing. We’d eat outside as the bivvy on the island is tiny. Robins were everywhere, including all over the table stealing our food. I saw my first ever kākāriki up there and heard kiwi at night. It really made me realise what a big impact rats, stoats and possums have on the mainland.

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

There are a number of them! A whole bunch! I can’t pick one! But the older and wiser ones are worth listening to. They’ve been around the block a few times and really know their stuff.   

Deep and meaningful

Jose Watson on Fred the horse at the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre.

When not at work, I’ll likely be found somewhere near a horse

My favourite quote is:

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but this week I like this one… “I’ve seen how you can’t learn anything when you’re trying to look like the smartest person in the room.”
–  Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

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

Again, I’ve had lots of good advice, but “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” springs to mind!

In work and life I am motivated by:

Awesome people. There are some real ‘pearlers’ out there. Even the grumpy ones have good bits. I also love our native birds and the amazing places we look after. Spending time in nature inspires me to get back to work doing my bit to care for it. 

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

2. Look after your patch and all the critters in it.

3. Plant a native tree, it’s very rewarding to watch one grow. About six years ago my Dad gave me a tiny northern rata that is almost above my 1.5 metre high fence now.

4. Support pest control however you can, it really works and it’s getting better all the time.