After five years as Project Janszoon director, Devon McLean has now handed over the role to Bruce Vander Lee, while continuing as a trustee with the project.
Over the years as he kayaked and sailed past the beautiful bush lined beaches of the Abel Tasman Devon used to tell wife Anne that one day he wanted to make a difference to the Park.
In 2012 that dream came true with the launch of Project Janszoon and Devon has been the driving force behind the transformation of the Abel Tasman ever since. His vision of secure, restore and future proof has guided the work of the Project Janszoon team and our DOC colleagues. His dedication to the project and inspirational leadership is already seeing positive changes to the depleted ecosystems of Abel Tasman National Park.
Beyond Project Janszoon, Devon’s bigger vision of taking the Janszoon model and applying it more broadly across New Zealand is also bearing fruit. Since Project Janszoon began in 2012 we have seen the launch of affiliated projects under the NEXT Foundation umbrella, such as Taranaki Mounga, Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) and Predator Free Wellington. The Tomorrow Accord has created an important framework for ensuring conservation gains made from philanthropic investment will not be lost.
Devon’s dedication to the environment was recognised in 2015 when he was awarded the prestigious Queens Service Medal in the New Years Honours. He is also the Chairman of Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP), Environmental Advisor to the NEXT Foundation, Governance board member of the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, Director of the Taranaki Mounga Project and a Trustee with Predator Free New Zealand.
While Devon will continue his involvement with the project as part of the Janszoon board it is timely to acknowledge his significant contribution in initiating the project. With Project Janszoon now in the capable hands of Bruce and the rest of the Janszoon team, and with Devon still providing guidance we can look forward to more exciting achievements – for Project Janszoon and broader conservation initiatives across the country.