George.

Master of Science.

Fave thing about Geography?

Getting out and about. UC has field stations in the backcountry where you get to play around with awesome equipment. There's also the whole social aspect – we cook together and you can end up playing cards with your lecturers. It’s a cool all-round experience.

Most interesting trip?

I’ve been to Cass Field Station twice to study physical geography. We used weather stations to analyse the atmosphere, took GPS points to investigate glacial landforms and used radars to look below the ground. We even used drones to take aerial imagery and build 3D maps.

Sounds pretty hands on!

Yeah it is! It makes you a lot more interested in what you’re learning. When you’re out in that environment you realise just how many different geographical processes are at work together.

Any community involvement with your study?

For my GEOG309 paper we had to connect with community partners that needed research done – my group worked with the Avon-Ōtākaro Network to help them plan their biodiversity monitoring. You learn how to work with real people and at the end you feel like what you've done could have a real impact.

"It's great when can use your academic skills to help the wider community. Plus you get to chat to heaps of interesting people!"

Tell us about your work with keas!

I'm helping the Kea Conservation Trust build a database of banded birds so people can look up individual birds online (Google ‘kea database’!). They’re really smart birds and it’s fun to create an easy way for people to engage with them. It's great when can use your academic skills to help the wider community. Plus you get to chat to heaps of interesting people!

Any other highlights?

Last year I founded the Eco Club Network/Te Ohu Kākāriki. I got all the different eco clubs on campus in a room to figure how we could work more collaboratively and advocate for a more sustainable campus. Together, we provided feedback on the UC Landscape Masterplan and we’ve gotten more uni cafés to start composting. There’s lots of student advocacy here on campus.

Tips for first years?

Try different subjects. Get involved in the clubs. See what floats your boat. First year is all about discovering different opportunities. I started in computer science and now I’m out in the backcountry doing geography. You never know where you might end up!