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EIT student captures aspects of Biodiversity on video

A personal interest and investment in environmental issues and sustainability has motivated an EIT student to produce a series of videos highlighting biodiversity in Hawke’s Bay.

Susanna Gray, who is studying a Bachelor of Creative Practice majoring in Screen Production, chose Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay as her focus for a community project she had to complete as part of her studies.

She produced three videos; one with Dr Mike Lusk, who leads Friends of Te Mata Park, a volunteer group that focuses on planting natives and weed control within the park; another with Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay Trust Board Chair Charles Daugherty; as well as one on how to plant a native Kakabeak.

Fellow students Irish Morgan, Carlos Lopez, Jahmaleah Singh and Prestine Angela Abejero were part of her film crew.

It was made even more special considering it was her first time working with a real client in the community on an actual project.

“I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay,” she said.

While it was a “big learning curve”, particularly as she was working with several clients, she says the lessons she has learned have been invaluable.

“It was a really good learning experience to be talking with people that have an expectation from you, but you also have an expectation of the relationships. It was nice having a professional discourse.”

She was able to choose from a long list of ideas and tailor it to what she was interested in.

Now she also has a “deeper understanding” of what Biodiversity is.

 “I think that one of the reasons why I chose Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay is because I have a personal interest and investment in environmental issues and sustainability.

“But I never really put the word ‘biodiversity’ on it, so researching everything to do with it you understand how complex it is and how much it affects just everything going on around you.

“So, it was really interesting to see that and even how it interacted with the things we are doing at EIT like up at the Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre.”

She hopes the videos will enable more people to understand what biodiversity is, how it affects them, and what they can do.

Screen Production Lecturer Wayne Dobson said Susanna and the other students did “really well”.

“For us, it is a really good lead into introducing them to the real-world without all of the protection mechanisms that we have in place for them in earlier projects, where they have to go out, communicate with an actual client and meet the client’s needs while learning how a client relationship works.

“And it is good that the clients understand that the work is being done by students who are still learning, so it is not necessarily going to be quite as smooth as it is with a fully trained workforce,” he said.

It means that by the time students in the degree programme reach their final year when they start embarking on internships and jobs, they can work in a business environment and go out in the job scene having already made contacts in the industry and the local community, he said.

Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay general manager Debbie Monahan says she is pleased the organisation was able to provide this opportunity to Susanna.

“We love to see talented young people using their skills to highlight biodiversity and the wonderful things happening in Hawke’s Bay”.

6 January 2021

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