From trainee ranger to invasive weed puller, Jeff Bowers has found the perfect job
Keen outdoorsman Jeff Bowers enjoys nothing more than a good dose of hard work and bush bashing while surrounded by beautiful landscapes. The fact that he gets paid for it is a welcome bonus.
Bowers graduated from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s trainee ranger certificate in conservation course in 2014 and soon found himself a job at Te Ngahere, where teams remove invasive weeds and replace them with native species.
Based in Auckland, Bowers works in the likes of the Hunua Ranges, Rangitoto Island and in parks in Northland – all environments he relishes.
“I love it – you get the odd horrible areas but overall it’s a very satisfying job,” he says.
“You get to see parts of the country you would never see otherwise and restore formerly native bush that has been neglected.”
Bowers says the amount of bush bashing and hard work means it’s not a job for everyone, but it’s one he feels really makes a difference.
“I was brought up living in the bush and have a desire to make it a better place for people to enjoy. By controlling biodiversity in small areas we stop weeds spreading over the whole area – I feel like we’re really doing something.”
Jobs are normally commissioned by DOC, local councils and, in some cases, private companies. Bowers says his NMIT qualification was handy for a number of careers in the outdoors.
“The course taught us a lot of outdoor skills, such as navigating in the bush at night, how to use a chainsaw, how to ride an ATV. The first half was mostly practical then there was more theory in the second half, such as risk management.”
Bowers says it opens the door to jobs which don’t require you to spend your days sitting behind a desk.