Joerg’s first landing in Fiji occurred on January 2 1993..blown in by Cyclone Kina. Since then he is has become a ‘regular vagrant’ to Fiji’s forests; and within the last two years also to Fiji’s waters, being a member of all three of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s Fiji Petrel Pelagic Expeditions.
Joerg is a German biologist by education, he is German management consultant by profession, but he is a Fijian field man by heart. Joerg undertook extensive research in Fiji’s mahogany plantations to clarify their impact on birdlife, he also studied biodiversity patterns of Fiji’s rainforest and its regeneration after logging, which together formed the basis of his Ph.D. It was during this field work, that Joerg encountered some of our rarest forest wildlife including the Long-legged Warbler, the Red-throated Lorikeet and the Taveuni Flying Fox. As a member of the NFMV Fiji Petrel Pelagic Expeditions, Joerg admits to being very surprised that Fiji waters host – at least seasonally – such a lot of ‘tubenoses’ (petrel-albatross family), roughly 1/3 of all tubenose bird species known.
Joerg is a strong believer of rigorous field research being the basis of conservation endeavour with the vital component being sustained local involvement. ‘MareqetiViti is an opportunity for me to repay the deep impact Fiji has had on me and my understanding of improved living – I will assist, however best I can. I consider myself lucky to be a part it.’ Joerg says.
Picture: JK by Amanda Rogers, photographed in May 2009
David and Elsa Miller
Ruth Urben is from the UK and has spent most of her professional life in countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. An agriculturalist by training, the main focus of her work has been facilitating the smaller and subsistence farmers to use sustainable land management practices for sustainable agricultural production and improved livelihoods. Even with the focus on sustainability, any agriculture has the potential to threaten indigenous eco-systems and as an environmentalist at heart,
Ruth expresses pleasure in being able to (partially) balance the equation by supporting what she regards as the very much needed activities that NatureFiji-MareqetiViti is undertaking through the enthusiasm and commitment of its staff and community partners.
NFMV has an enormous debt of gratitude owing to Louise Owen, a Volunteer Management Consultant who was with us for just over three months and drew up a ‘living’ information management system, applying international best practice of procedural systems. The structure and framework was set up in line with ISO9001:2008 (ISO 9k) compliance. A very big Vinaka Vaka Levu Louise.
Louise was also involved in a wide variety of NFMV activities from helping out at the Serua Province Sago Planting Day to assisting the Permanent Forest Project’s forums up in Vanua Levu. But the biggest surprise was left until last. As she left to return to the UK, Louise joined NFMV as a Life Member. Her subscription will be one of the first in NFMV’s new Sustainability Fund which she encouraged us to set up.
Since its establishment in the year 2007, NFMV has attracted three Life Members. We are now joined by two more. Maaike Manten recently completed her assignment as the Programme Development Manager with the BirdLife International Pacific Secretariat from where she was especially helpful to NFMV with its project funding. She had been a NFMV Standard Member since she first arrived in Fiji but her farewell gift was to become Life Member.
Dinny Laufenboeck an Executive manager with Vatukoula Gold mines Limited has recently renewed her membership with NFMV from the category of ‘Standard Membership’ to that of ‘Life Member’.
Dinny is from a family who has farmed at Vatukoula for several generations and she still lives on the farm. NFMV is proud to welcome Dinny as the 7th Life member that has signed up to our local conservation organization.
Dick Watling, a Trustee of NFMV and its acting Director was instrumental in establishing NFMV and has assisted the organization progress ever since.