After 23 years in the US Coast Guard travelling the world's oceans from the North Pole to Antarctica, Dunedin is a natural landing place for April Brown.
In year two of a marine ecology degree, April (who grew up landlocked in Salt Lake City, Utah) sees Otago as the perfect place to study. It's setting her on a path to 'walk the walk' - getting active in helping to preserve the marine environment.
If anyone has an idea about what's happening to that environment, it's April. As a former icebreaker sailor/diver and logistics officer, April played a key role in coordinating icebreaker and resupply vessel activities for Operation DEEP FREEZE which supports US and New Zealand Antarctic Programmes. On average 4-6 million gallons of fuel and 10-14 million pounds of cargo are delivered to McMurdo Station and Scott Base annually to supply major science research activities throughout Antarctica.
April interfaced with international science teams to coordinate icebreaker support of numerous multidisciplinary research projects. It's through this work that her interest in the marine environment flourished, and she wanted to 'try the other side of the coin'.
"The perception is that New Zealand is greatly advanced in preserving its biodiversity and marine environment but the numbers don't add up; fisheries studies of late attest to that. The decline in native species overall is shocking."
April sees the purity of our patch quickly eroding away and wants to help reverse that trend.