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Student story

Finn Ross

20 July 2023

"I enjoy the opportunity to work out in the field and contribute to meaningful research..."


Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with an endorsement in Ecology

Studying towards a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Ecology and Biological Sciences

Founder, The Seaweed Solution

Director, Bomb Bucha

Conservation Manager, Lake Hāwea Station

As an entrepreneur and conservationist, Finn has already made a lot of progress towards his goals to protect the environment.

Since high school, Finn has been making his mark in the environmentalist world. He first co-founded the business Let Them Fish alongside a friend, leading to community project work in South America, South Africa, and the Pacific gathering fishing equipment for vulnerable communities. Let Them Fish was the winner of the 2015 Young Enterprise Scheme Excellence in Social Enterprise award.

Following his early successes at school, Finn then went onto studies in Wildlife and Fish Conservation at University of California, Davis with a Provost Scholarship, and Ecology and Biological Sciences here at UC.

Finn’s background in hunting, spearfishing, and adventure racing in the great outdoors stemmed his passion for environmentalism.

"I am a young New Zealander deeply passionate about the environment.  An upbringing under the water and in the mountains has collided with my passion for leadership and learning," he says.

"I am motivated by environmentalism through education. I enjoy the opportunity to work out in the field and contribute to meaningful research, where I understand the potential impact of being able to use what I learn to better our planet."

Currently Finn is completing honours research at UC investigating the effectiveness of carbon dioxide capturing or sequestration using seaweed to help reverse climate change, building on his winning business plan ‘The Seaweed Solution’ in the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship 2019 Social Enterprise Challenge.

It’s these opportunities to put ideas into action that has made studying at UC a winning combination for Finn with the surrounding landscape.

"UC has the best location to surf, hunt, and explore the mountains,’ he says. ‘It has its own niche student vibe and opportunities for epic adventures in the Alps."

One unique experience was joining other UC students in creating Bomb Bucha, an alcoholic kombucha company that offsets carbon emissions from manufacturing by planting native trees – being one of the first companies in New Zealand with a 200% total offset.

Finn has taken on a number of other opportunities to assist local environmental efforts where he can; including research for NGO Live Ocean, taking part in Gen Zero initiatives, and joining the US Embassy New Zealand Youth Council.

A particularly meaningful role for Finn is work heading conservation, biodiversity, and carbon budgeting with Lake Hāwea Station.

"I spend as much time as I can here; this includes planting 10,000 trees each year, vast pest control, monitoring, and the ultimate goal of being the first farm to be certified 10x carbon positive in the world."

With all of his experiences so far, Finn hopes to eventually go onto founding his own business on aquaculture or carbon trading after finishing honours studies.

"My objective is to educate myself to the highest level so I am prepared to tackle the global issues around sustainability that I am so passionate about, in particular biodiversity loss and the climate crisis," he says.

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