Our first Aussie!

Julia Brown
4 November 2015

An Aussie Princess Arrives in the Valley

It’s been a couple of weeks since I arrived in the Valley and wow, I have been exposed to a lot of new things! Let me tell you a bit about my self first though.

My professional background is primarily in customer service and sales. I have a Bachelor of International Hotel and Tourism from the University of Queensland and a Master of Environment and Resource Management from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Most people think this is a very odd combination, but I did a couple of sustainable tourism subjects in my undergrad and LOVED them.

During my masters, I was drawn to the more social elements of Environmental Management and my thesis on bottom up best practices addressing certain aspects of managing marine litter proves this. However, I did leave the Netherlands with a small pang of regret from not experiencing any fieldwork.

One year later I have found myself as a volunteer intern with the Nature’s Valley Trust, which is the kind of organisation I dream of having a career with. On the afternoon I arrived, Mark advised me that I would be getting up early the next morning to go bird ringing at 5.15 am. My first thought was ‘you’re making me get up that early after a whole day of travelling?!?!’ shortly followed by ‘what on earth is bird ringing?!’. I had envisioned Mark standing there with bird food in his hand making the bird flying in circles for tourists. It’s actually the process of catching birds (ethically) and putting small tags on them for monitoring purposes. We also measured their beaks, wings, identified their sex, age and whether or not they had a brood patch. It was awesome, but thankfully Mark let me have a nap afterwards.

Julia with her first bird in the hand

Julia holding her first bird, a Cape White-eye

Other activities I have been exposed to so far include the Adopt a Beach outdoor education program, collecting Fynbos seeds and Mosquito Fish netting; most of which involved walking through mud, water and long tick and snake filled grass. That’s probably a bit of an overstatement, but I now have so much respect for field researchers and what the Nature’s Valley Trust does. I’ve also comes to terms with the fact I am a bit of a princess and I’m totally okay with that!

Julia Mosquito Fish sampling

Julia Mosquito Fish sampling

So from now on, in addition to assisting in the field I will be spending my time at Nature’s Valley Trust working on the strategic side of the organisation. I can’t wait to develop some new practices and am so exciting to be working with such an awesome team.