Eastern Falcon Conservation Trust

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Our founding trustee’s all share an unbridled passion for our wild and remote places and a commitment to making a difference in the conservation of our dryland ecosystems and these very special birds.

Dr Donna Falconer

Dr Donna Falconer is an exploration geologist, gold researcher and passionate photographer. And yes, that is her birth name.

Donna grew up on a farm in eastern Southland where she developed her interest for wildlife, photography and all things that fly (which stems from a childhood building and flying model planes). She has travelled widely as a geologist, from the jungles of Kalimantan and Ghana to the tundra of Nunavut and deserts of Australia. Gold projects in eastern Southland however still draw her back to her roots as does ongoing gold research at Otago University.

Donna discovered the NZ falcon after shifting to the Mackenzie Basin to write up her PhD in 2007. After informally observing nesting pairs for 5 years she became increasingly aware of the need to do more to protect the eastern falcons of the open dryland grassland ecosystems in the high country. This trust is the result of much deliberation on how best to help our eastern falcons.

Dr Patrick Aldwell

Dr Patrick Aldwell is a retired scientist and academic whose professional life includes 18 years at the erstwhile Forest Research Institute (now Scion) and for 14 of the last 16 years as dean of the Faculty of Commerce at Lincoln University.

His professional interests focus on leadership development for rural New Zealanders and in this context, he has been involved with the Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme, for the last seven years as the Academic Director and with the Hort Leadership Programme. Recently he has been strengthening his knowledge in ecology and assisting Kellogg and Hort students in addressing the increasing environmental issues facing the primary sector.

Patrick’s early years were as a shepherd, mainly in the hill country behind Gisborne. During this time he was a keen hunter, tramper and budding ornithologist. He has travelled widely and worked in many different countries including Turkey, China and Thailand. He studied for his PhD at the university of Washington in Seattle and his MBA at Monash. He also holds degrees and diplomas from Massey and Lincoln Universities.

In combination with his other outdoor interests Patrick has developed a growing interest in those birds whose habitat is in the wilder parts of New Zealand - hence his interest in the eastern falcon and the development of Eastern Falcon Conservation Trust.

Greg Hay

Born and bred in Motueka, Greg graduated from Otago University with a Commerce Degree in Marketing and Management and immediately put those skills to use with a year's beekeeping on the South Island's West Coast.

Greg came to Central Otago in 1987, and spent 10 years establishing vineyards throughout the region before becoming instrumental in setting up Peregrine Wines in 1998. Greg spends any spare time boating in Fiordland, gardening, whitebaiting, cooking and flying.

Vladka Kennet

Dean Fitzpatrick

Research advisors - collaborators

Dr James Ross, Wildlife Ecologist, Lincoln University

Dr Penny Fisher, Wildlife Toxicologist, Landcare Research

Dr Yann-Pierre Montelle, Speleozoologist, Canterbury Museum


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