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Ecologist Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf talks about starting at Cardno at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic

Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf is Cardno’s newest ecologist. Here, she talks to us about the importance of working from home and how COVID-19 has sharpened her vision for a more environmentally friendly society.

Astrid has been in New Zealand’s Ecology industry for 21 years. Her passion for the sciences first emerged at just 11 years old when she started experimenting with the environmental factors that affect the health of moss. Fast-forward through a successful career, Astrid has completed a Master of Science and achieved her PhD. Her first job was with the Department of Conservation in New Zealand and she has spent her career expanding her knowledge experiences and skills in all thing’s terrestrial ecology.

Having recently joined the team, Astrid has had experienced starting a new job in a way that most would not - at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Making her connections through Skype and video meetings, Astrid already knows her team, as if there were no distance between them, “Cardno has exceptionally talented technical experts and due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the company they can often come up with innovative solutions to ensure client needs are met. The team also prides itself on being honest and having integrity, so the clients that come to Cardno are looking to make a positive difference.”

Astrid started up Porirua Parkrun 7 years ago - a long-running passion of hers

Astrid is part of the APAC Water and Environment Team which spans across Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. The team offers services relating to natural waters (including piped streams) and terrestrial environments, helping to map, describe, and assess waterways and terrestrial habitats for clients. They survey and monitor fish, birds, lizards, invertebrates, bats, native plants and pest animals and plants. The team have a comprehensive range of survey techniques, from electric fishing, remote bat and bird detection, to on the ground searches. They assess the ecological values, come up with solutions to retain and protect those values and work with the client to arrive at the best ecological outcome possible.

During lockdown Astrid also found time to observe how human society could do their part to better help the environment. She describes a vision of the future she would like to see.

“A human society that lives in balance with nature, where people are kind to each other and to the world around them."

By mostly working from home, with virtual meetings, Astrid believes these changes have reduced our environmental footprint but have also created more time for people and their families. Astrid sees the less frantic pace of life that we have all been living, a better outcome for our environment.

Astrid biking in the Swiss Alps

Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf

To find out how Astrid and her team can assist with you Ecology needs reach out to:

Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf 
+64 4 566 0922

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