As a boy from Iowa in the United States, Bruce Vander Lee didn’t see the ocean until he was 17 years old. Now, as director for Project Janszoon, he is working to restore the ecology of one of New Zealand’s most popular coastal national parks.
An experienced conservation manager with a background in restoration and pest control Bruce was DOC’s improvement manager in the Northern South Island region before joining Project Janszoon in 2017. He led the team that eradicated great white butterflies from the Nelson region—a world first.
After completing a Masters of Science, Range and Wildlife management at Texas Tech University and a Bachelor of Science, Wildlife and Fisheries Science at South Dakota State University he worked as a wildlife biologist, and then spent time working with the Nature Conservancy at Flagstaff Arizona.
Along with wife Rosemary, Bruce moved to New Zealand in 2008. He first worked as a research data analyst with the Ministry of Fisheries, before taking on the role of Biodiversity Programme Manager for DOC, first in the Wairarapa and then in Motueka,
Bruce says it is a privilege to work in the Abel Tasman, and to know he can make a difference to such a beautiful place. In his spare time he enjoys kayaking in the Park, and spending time tramping in its upper reaches. Bruce has a love of cycling and in mid 2017 bike 5,600km along the continental divide from the middle of British Columbia to the Mexican border.