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Graduate - Jessica Pink
In 2013, as a relatively new organisation, it was essential for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership to report on its accomplishments. Jessica Pink developed the format for the annual reports and prepared the first annual report on the Partnership’s work in 2012/13. Jessica engaged the partners across the country in the preparation of the report and captured stories from the field about the first collecting trips undertaken for the Australian Seed Bank Partnership’s overarching 1000 Species Project.
Tell us a little about yourself
I was one of the few born and bred ‘Canberrans’ to be found in the 2013 Graduate Program (most of us came from further afield). I have a Bachelor of Science (hons) from the ANU where I majored in genetics and zoology. My honours work was on the behavioural ecology of fishes, which is much more interesting than it sounds and entailed spending one month SCUBA diving on the tropical reefs surrounding Lizard Island.
What interested you about working in the environmental field?
Although I have always been interested in the environment, I originally intended to undertake a post graduate medical degree. Throughout my science degree, though, I found a passion for almost all things biological (particularly anything marine related). While I enjoyed studying prolonged academia wasn’t for me and I decided I would rather work somewhere that actively participates in species conservation.
When did you join the Department and where are you currently working?
I joined the Department in the 2013 graduate pool, commencing February 2013. I am currently working in the Terrestrial Species Conservation Section, located in the Allara St office. We deal with listing species under the EPBC Act as well as preparing recovery plans for species.
What was your role with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership?
The range of work I undertook working for the ASBP was interesting and varied. The major piece of work I did was set up a volunteer program for the ASBP, which engages people in roles such as writing stories for the website and maintaining a Facebook page. I was also involved in writing grant applications (not something you would usually experience in the Department) and contributing to the annual report, as well as the multiple small, interesting jobs that always seemed to crop up. The variety of tasks meant I developed useful skills such as writing for the web, minute writing, grant application writing and interviewing skills.
What did you enjoy about working for the Partnership? Was there a particular highlight?
I really enjoyed working for the ASBP; it is a practical example of how a not-for-profit conservation organisation can work in close collaboration with a federal government department. The work was absorbing and challenging, and I always felt like I was actively contributing to plant conservation. The ASBP and ANBG team are lovely people, who are friendly, passionate and very helpful. A highlight was going on a seed-collecting trip with staff from the National Seed Bank (a member of the ASBP), which was great fun.
Did you make any surprising discoveries about plants and seeds when you were working for the ASBP?
Despite having a degree in science, my studies were almost entirely focussed on animals, not plants (much to my later regret). A lot of the things I learnt about plants, seeds and seed banking were surprises—the world of seed banking is complex, challenging and can be fascinating.
How do you relax after work?
This depends on the time of year: if it is winter, I tend to go in to hibernation and work my way through my ever-growing pile of books to read and TV shows to watch (usually in my pjs). In the warmer months I love being outside, particularly playing soccer, walking, going to the beach and going SCUBA diving. I also enjoy cooking, drawing, music and gardening. Currently I spend a large amount of time playing and walking with my seven-month old puppy, Lupe.