I met Clio Reid through Twitter because of our mutual interest in kea (the world’s only alpine parrot). Neato person profiles follow the same format, answering the same six questions:
1. Who are you?
I’m a biologist from Canada now living in New Zealand. My main interests are birds (especially parrots), conservation, and behaviour.
2. What or whom do you think is neato? You can name more than one thing/person.
The kea (Nestor notabilis) is my favourite species and I’ve been studying kea in the wild off and on for about ten years. Kea are an endangered, intelligent, high-country parrot endemic to the South Island of New Zealand (that means they don’t live anywhere else). I did my master’s on kea personality and how it’s linked to lead poisoning (they’re very curious and that often gets them into trouble). Now I’m doing my PhD on the conflict between kea and high country sheep farmers (I know it sounds like something from Monty Python, but kea do attack sheep. If you don’t believe it, look up the 1993 Natural History New Zealand documentary on kea — it has have video footage of kea attacking sheep).
3. Name three quick facts or fantasies about yourself/your company that you didn’t include in your answer to my first question.
I have a growing interest in human psychology; I think the world could do with more empathy, compassion, and shame resilience (see for example Brenee Brown’s work); I’m an introvert.
4. Please ask a question you would like to see answered by the global community. This can be existential or pragmatic, realistic or silly.
Can we change human behaviour in time to meaningfully address climate change and biodiversity loss?
5. Please tell me something about your profession that you think someone younger than you, or who is just starting out, would like to know.
Follow your dreams and interests — don’t give in to the voices (inside or outside you) that tell you not to. Find something that interests you and pursue it. Even if you don’t think you can make a job or career out of it, it’s worth doing if it gives you satisfaction. You can become an expert in your field even if you have to do it in your free time!