By Angeline Barnes, Community Outreach Coordinator
In today’s busy world, it is too easy for me to make excuses as to why I don’t get out into the great outdoors as often as I would like to.
Getting ready to take on the Sunrise Track
A few weeks ago, a group of us took the plunge. Leaving behind our flat whites, we made our way up to Sunrise Hut—a fabulous modern hut perched high on the hills of the Ruahine Forest Park. This hut was no draughty tin shack; it was warm (insulation really works) had triple bunks, a fire, great cooking facilities and was the perfect place to hit the ‘reset’ button.
The track was an easy gradual climb and well maintained
Our route up was an easy gradual climb on a wide and well maintained track—a perfect width for chatting as we walked. Surrounded by trees, the warmth of the autumn sun and the chirp of our native birds, we seemed to reach the top quickly. As we approached the hut, the vegetation changed (sub-alpine) and my imagination went into overdrive, I was walking in the enchanted forest, just like the fairy tales I read as a child.
Learning about native plants along the way
And if ever there was a hut that’s name was appropriate, it is Sunrise Hut. Usually I struggle with early mornings, but the temptation to watch the sunrise over Hawke’s Bay was enough to force me out of bed—a decision I don’t regret. The view was spectacular and I felt like I was on top of the world.
This hut was no drafty tin shack
Was my night away enjoyable? Yes. But a better word would be AMAZING. The questions is, why don’t I do this more often?
The sunrise over the Hawke’s Bay was amazing!
Watch this video of Angeline’s trip to Sunrise Hut:
I organise and run events, manage volunteers, give talks, participate in our education programmes, produce our newsletter, work with the media, do a bit of web management, mmm… what else… coordinate the odd poster and pamphlet, work with the council, groups and other agencies on different projects; basically anything that has to do with the public and getting them informed/involved. Also, I occasionally get to go out in the field and I am part of a very successful catering service run by the Community Relations team = )
Playing a food web game with school children
What is the best part about your job?
Getting to see people’s faces when they learn something they didn’t know about, and working with people that like to get up in the morning to go to work.
Walk and talk to the Cape Sanctuary - waiting in line to feed Cooks Petrels
What led you to your role in DOC?
Since I arrived in New Zealand I’ve explored different areas of public conservation land, and thought DOC did a pretty good job looking after it. I was curious to see how they did it and wanted to be a part of it.
What was the highlight of your month just gone?
I got to interview students that participated in one of our education programmes years ago to see if the programme was working and if they remembered anything; they did. They remembered so much more than what I was expecting. It was a wonderful feeling to know that what we do actually does make a difference and that the messages we are putting across are being remembered.
With Bryan Welch measuring a stranded whale
The rule of three…
My family (my husband and my family back in my home land and around the globe)
Mountains (particularly in winter)
Spending time outdoors (walking, taking photos, cross country skiing, cycling, kayaking, hiking and swimming)
With most of my family on our wedding day just over a year ago
Three pet peeves
Ants in my pantry
Freshly picked summer fruit
A good salad with fresh herbs
Valle Frances, one of the most beautiful places from home
Three favourite places in New Zealand
Fiordland (so peaceful, beautiful and similar to home)
Wanaka (great atmosphere, close to Snowfarm, wonderful lake and mountains to play in)
The Coromandel (particularly when the pohutakawa trees are in full bloom)
Favourite movie, album, book
Movie(s) – The Banff film fest; the movies blow me away every year, if you have not gone to one you must. And for a more mellow experience, Amelie—love it!
Album – Anything from St. Germain, you can’t go wrong with him. It is great background music for anything.
Book – In a sunburned country by Bill Bryson, I have never laughed so much reading a book.
Zapatito de la virgen - Calceolaria Uniflora, a very special flower found in Patagonia
Deep and meaningful…
What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?
Don’t worry, enjoy it.
With the contorta crew - Kaweka Forest Park
Who or what inspires you and why?
Explorers, mountaineers, pioneers, people that go great lengths to follow their dreams and conquer what others might see as impossible, and people that survive challenges that would defeat others.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?
I would probably be at uni getting a masters degree.
If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?
Some marine mammal—probably a dolphin—to be able to live underwater, play with gravity, see birds diving for food, schools of fish and penguins zooming by, and to teach other dolphins a thing or two about how great marine protected areas are and to keep away from fishing nets.
What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?
Go out, explore, live it, love it, be proud, get involved and let others know about it; “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax.