What it’s really like to be an Environmental Planner

23 Jan 21

Our Stories

When Kristie Paki Paki completed her Bachelor of Forestry Science 16 years ago she felt confident that there would be a stable and interesting job at the other end of it. Her first role as a Harvest Planner with Nelson Forests fulfilled those expectations and gave her a good grounding for her current role as OneFortyOne’s Environmental Planner in Marlborough, New Zealand.

Kristie Paki Paki , OneFortyOne Environmental Planner

Kristie is called in when any kind of compliance is required to operate in the Marlborough environment, ensuring that OneFortyOne operations have minimal impact on the surrounding area and landscape.

Resource consents, building consents, discussions with historic site authorities, harvest plan reviews, stream crossing designs, environmental auditing, access permits for beekeeping, neighbour agreements, threatened species management and community liaison are all a part of Kristie’s day-to-day activities. “I also chair the Environmental Improvement Committee at Kaituna Sawmill, and oversee the internal environmental auditing program,” says Kristie.

Kristie also contributes to the iNaturalist website and app on behalf of OneFortyOne. iNaturalist is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. The app and website has more than one million registered users and is used by citizens and scientists to monitor species presence and distribution. Kristie maintains a threatened species field guide booklet to help colleagues and contractors identify indigenous flora and fauna that are endangered. Part of this work involves conducting training with operational colleagues about threatened species and encouraging other colleagues and contractors to contribute to the iNaturalist database with their field observations.

The iNaturalist work is part of the company’s voluntary contributions to the Biodiversity in Plantations project. “It is a fabulous tool for recording and learning about the presence of threatened species,” says Kristie. “Within the app/website OneFortyOne employees and contractors can record sightings of threatened species and we are able to view who has entered sightings as each user has a unique identifier. The use of smart technology has made the recording process seamless and instant. GPS locations are added automatically, photos can be uploaded, and you can request help with species identification from the global scientists and biologists who monitor the program.”

The technology is useful for tracking and monitoring kārearea, New Zealand’s only falcon, and other indigenous species, and, where possible, forestry operations can be planned based on this data. “If we know about the presence of a threatened species before we undertake operations, we can plan for it,” says Kristie. “For example, if we have recorded sighting of kārearea being present in previous years displaying protective behaviours we can plan to avoid known nesting areas during the nesting and fledging periods.”

At the moment Kristie is working collaboratively with the Marlborough Falcon Trust. “So far we’ve used the Trust to upskill our contractors in species identification and understanding the habitat of the kārearea and the interface of our operations and how it affects them,” says Kristie. “We can help protect these birds by ensuring everyone who works in our forests understands how to keep them safe.”

Once a year, Kristie does a carbon audit that measures the carbon footprint of OneFortyOne’s operations in Marlborough, including Kaituna Sawmill. The carbon calculations Kristie produces provide OneFortyOne with an ongoing measure of the amount of carbon each forest estate absorbs and stores each year, along with a valuable insight into opportunities for the business to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

A recent community project that is dear to Kristie’s heart has been securing OneFortyOne sponsorship for the Pine Valley Educational Camp, a non-profit organisation that runs a camp for primary school aged children. The camp is located adjacent to OneFortyOne’s forest estate. The funding is being put towards upgrading their facilities.

“The camp focuses on environmental education taught through on-site activities and content. We feel a strong connection with it as we are one of the camp’s neighbours,” says Kristie.

“The camp is an iconic institution that most Marlborough and many Nelson Tasman children get to go to at least once. The kids go on forest walks, play ‘search and find’ educational games in the indigenous forest of the neighbouring Department of Conservation land, learn about tree and insect species identification, and do stream and waterways health studies.

It’s clear that Kristie loves her work and the opportunity it gives her to put her environmental and community values at the heart of what she does.

OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.