Who are we?

About Mandy Haywood

Since graduating with a Degree in Applied Biology in 1992, I spent most of my professional life based in Cambridge, UK, working for international conservation organisations. Most of my work has been researching the status and management of a wide variety of plant and animal species subject to trade. Most recently, I worked for two years at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA, for the Global Mammal Assessment which has been tasked with determining the conservation status of all of the world’s mammals (over 5,700 species) for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Through this work I’ve gained broad understanding of species and conservation issues, information management, and had the pleasure of working with an enormous number of very knowledgeable people, and have communicated scientific information to various audiences.

I’ve travelled extensively, for meetings and occasionally to do field work, for pleasure, and to rock climb – and it was during a year long climbing expedition in 2004, that I decided wildlife filmmaking had to be my future career. I’ve written produced and directed ‘From Pits and Potteries to Parkland: the Story of Swadlincote Woodlands’ a 12 minute film on the industrial and natural heritage of a woodland site located at the end of the street on which I grew up, in Derbyshire, England. Finally, after some searching in 2005 and 2006, in April 2007 I found the perfect course here at the University of Otago – and it’s great to have been accepted, to have a place on the course and to be here!

It is these experiences and an appreciation of pockets of natural habitat in urban areas, that fostered an interest in the town belt upon arrival in Dunedin.

We hope that the blog will be interesting and useful to towns folk and tourists alike. We encourage you to send comments and photos of times in the town belt which we can place on our blog.

All the best

About Jill Leichter

I studied fine art (photography and painting) and natural sciences (biology, entomology, botany and natural resources) and managed to graduate with a BSc from Cornell University. For twenty years, I worked in publishing from book design for a publisher in Boston, to freelance illustration for various publishers and then scientific editing for the journals of the Ecological Society of America.

I haved two children that are now 17 and 19 years old. They have been walking in the woods since they learned to walk. They learned from a young age to appreciate the ferns, trees, birds and other creatures of the forests near Ithaca, New York, and then all over New Zealand from Kaitaia to Stewart Island. I believe there is nother better thing than a walk in the woods with watchful eyes, listening ears, and an enquiring mind.



4 responses

5 06 2008
Eve Pranis


What a delight to run across your blog . . . and photo! We still share sensiblities about the natural world. I’d love to tell you about my work with an online inquiry-based science and geography project. Please e-mail and let me know how you are. I hadn’t heard earlier, and hoped that all was well.


4 08 2008
Simon Clearwater


A great site that Ill keep an eye on. I’m coordinator for the Dunedin Kiwi Conservation Club and would like to take the kids on a walk through the town belt, perhaps in October or Nov- when it is a bit warmer! Might either of you be interested in joining us and sharing your knowledge? Be great to have some experts along! Perhaps you might know of a way we can enhance the belt during our walk, e.g a rubbish clean up, planting, a survey? The kids will be between 5 and 12 years of age. We could upload photos to your blog if you wished. Give me an e-mail if you might be keen.

Well done you two, keep up the good work. Its important for us to keep our urban spaces alive and make people aware of them,


5 08 2008

Hi Simon, that sounds like a great idea. I am hoping to organise an event with the DCC and enviroschools around that time, which was to be publicised through the blog. I’ll get in contact by email.

Many thanks for your interest

14 09 2008
Jo Register

Hi Mandy and Jill,

I’m doing some internal communications work for the DCC and would like to write a wee article about your site for their internal newsletter. I think many staff there would like to see the site and would greatly enjoy the movie about Opoho School’s work. Please email me back so we can chat.


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