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Not your average superhero

Published: 20 October 2017

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Not your average superhero.

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘superhero’? Superman, super powers, wind-blown capes or underwear over tights?

How about a khaki-clad park ranger?

Enter Ambury Regional Park Ranger Janine Nillesen – super ranger helping to protect the environment.

Story continues below.

Not your average superhero (6) comic 5
Comic starring Park Ranger Janine Nillesen created by children at Mangere Bridge School.

Janine has worked as a park ranger at Ambury Regional Park – an operating farm nestled in the middle of the city on the shores of the Manukau Harbour – for over 15 years.

This time of the year you’ll find Janine and her colleagues running educational programmes, tree planting days, looking after new born animals and working closely with volunteers. 

Although she is not one of Auckland Council’s specialised conservation park rangers, conservation plays a large role in Janine’s day-to-day.

“I’m not the park’s conservation ranger, as I would practically do a back flip to get away from a rat. However, there are many different types of conservation. My role involves working with the community to raise awareness and engagement around taking care of our environment – particularly in regard to preventing litter in our harbours,” she says.

“The work that I do is a real team effort. I work closely with my colleagues, volunteer groups and organisations like Sustainable Coastlines to help set up beach, foreshore and stream clean ups. I also help run workshops for minimising waste – my friends hide their rubbish when they see me coming.”

Janine says conservation is important because our parks and green spaces play an integral role in keeping the connection between nature and growing urban communities.

“I am a big advocate for protecting our green spaces for future generations, as our parks are unique and special places that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

Keen to do your bit for conservation?

Check out Pest Free Auckland 2050 or keep an eye out on our events page.

About Conservation Week

It’s Conservation Week, an annual celebration run by DOC to encourage people to help take care of our environment.

This year, we’re all encouraged to ‘love your backyard’ by getting involved in conservation activities and events that bring a little love to our native birds, wildlife, flora and fauna. 

Auckland Council supports a range of conservation initiatives each year including native bird releases, helping with farming and biosecurity, clean-up events and undertaking research.