I come from Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the South Pacific. My fascination for nature started at an early age. Growing up in Dungket village I roamed around my father’s forest and saw all the wildlife around me. Witnessing the establishment of the YUS Conservation Area fuelled my interest for conservation. This is PNG’s first and only protected area to date, which is a critical habitat for the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo.
I am the first local landowner from the YUS Conservation Area to be accepted to the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) where I completed my BSc in Environmental Sciences & Geography. That is where I realize that wildlife, conservation, people and culture are highly interconnected. I also learned that I can use my skills and knowledge to help train and encourage local land owners to be good stewards of their resources, and protect their own lives and their surrounding biodiversity. When I returned home I joined the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program-Papua New Guinea (TKCP-PNG), a community based conservation organization that manages the YUS conservation area. I was employed first as an intern, and now as the community conservation coordinator. I make land use management plans with local communities in the conservation area, create monitoring tools for land use management and conduct environmental impact assessments. I also play a part in monitoring the Matschie’s tree kangaroo behaviour and habitat using GPS collars.
I have learned a lot from my previous studies and my work experience. However, I have a burning desire to further develop my practical skills and theoretical understanding of conservation so I can contribute more effectively to conservation research and action in PNG. Key features that will be covered in the Diploma program such as field project management, robust data collection, analysis techniques, fund raising and communication will add to my skill set and give me more insight into how conservation area management and research are done. I am also keen to get the opportunity to meet conservationists from all over the world, learn about their culture and values and broaden my horizons.
This Diploma gives me the unique opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge that I need to work effectively and efficiently and drive forward conservation in my area. The course will help me in realizing my dream of truly helping to protect PNG’s rich biodiversity.