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Members in Action: Bruce Clarkson, Regional Director for the Pacific

Monday, May 4, 2020  
Posted by: Keith MacCallum
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Bruce Clarkson is the newly-elected Regional Director for the Pacific on SER's Board of Directors. His two-year term will begin in July. We reached out to him to learn more about how he got into the field of ecological restoration, and about some of his work. 


What’s your current job and what projects are you working on?

I am a Professor based at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand and Programme leader for a government funded research programme: People, Cities & Nature.  The program is inter-disciplinary with six projects across New Zealand that are working towards restoring indigenous biodiversity in urban environments. Our projects include restoration plantings, urban lizards, mammalian predators, Maori restoration values, green space benefits, and cross-sector alliances. They are mainly  focused on the science and practice of indigenous habitat reconstruction in urban environments.

My job gives me opportunities to work with higher degree students and postdocs on field based research, which is rewarding.



What was your childhood dream job and how did your career get started?

I never contemplated a dream job but I was already hooked on native birds and plants by age 9 years. My career started as a Regional Botanist for New Zealand’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Botany Division based in Rotorua.


What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?

The realisation, after many years of cultivation of an unknown native plant, that I had discovered an intergeneric wild hybrid between a shrub daisy and an herbaceous daisy new to science.


How long have you been a member of SER?

I’ve been a member since 2005, and was just elected as Chair of the SER Australasia chapter. I’ve also attended several world conferences including most recently the one in Cape Town, South Africa.

Why would you encourage others, particularly young people, to get involved in this field?

It’s a massive opportunity; the more humans stuff up the planet the more we need to fix it and fixing it is so rewarding. There is nothing more rewarding than visiting a successful restoration site 10 or 20 years after the start date.


What is your favourite piece of field equipment?

Increment corer.


Thank you for joining our Board of Directors, Bruce!