Valerie Bianchi

Valerie Bianchi University of Waikato

Valerie Bianchi’s professional, academic and personal background is connected to the outdoors and the environment. As an Undergraduate student at the Museum of Fine Arts School in the US she focused on how environmental topics are communicated through various media. At this time she complimented her studies with an internship at the National Park Service and voluntary work with the New England Aquarium and the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries. These experiences helped her understand how important the community is in achieving environmental goals as well as an appreciation of scientific fieldwork.

She went on to continue environment and community work through employment at the Appalachian Mountain Club as well as outdoor instructing. In New Zealand, Valerie is connected to a variety of organizations that facilitate community engagement in the outdoors such as the Whāingaroa Environment Centre and the Karioi ki te Moana project. Since beginning her Masters studies at the University of Waikato, Valerie has developed an interest in professional development in environmental education. Her thesis, focusing on the needs of conservation education practitioners, is currently in progress.

Receiving the Sylff scholarship has enabled Valerie to attend and, hopefully, to present posters at the North American Association for Environmental Education conference in October 2015 and the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education conference in January 2016. Valerie is honoured to be participating as part of the global network of Sylff scholars.

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