The countdown to Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service’s (PWS) 50th anniversary is underway and is a chance to reflect on the diverse and talented staff we have in the agency.
Although Mt Field and Freycinet became Tasmania's first national parks in 1916, the National Parks and Wildlife Service commenced operations on 1 November 1971 with just 59 staff. Today there are over 450 staff for the PWS across Tasmania.
One of these staff is Visitor Services Administrative Assistant at PWS, and parks and reserve photographer in her spare time, Lily Pursell. Lily’s been working at the PWS for just under two years, firstly commencing a role at the PWS as a business school-based trainee, working one day a week.
Lily taking a selfie with a wombat at Maria Island National Park
“This was a great starting point for me as I was able to work and continue my college studies at the same time. Because of this traineeship I was able to gain a certificate in Business and was able to apply these skills in my current position,” Lily said.
“I completed my traineeship and now work full-time in my current role. Due to the traineeship, I gained further interest in Tasmania’s parks and reserves and confidence in my ability to perform the roles and skills that I was taught, which helped me upskill and gain employment a short time after completing my traineeship.”
Lily said her role includes taking phone calls, assisting clients with enquiries via email about Tasmania’s national parks and reserves, creating and amending parks passes and undertaking audits of sold park passes through Wholesale Agents.
“Phone calls from clients range from enquiries about our park pass facilities and experiences, requirements for entry into national parks, experience needed for single-day and multi-day walks and camping fee enquiries. We are often the main point of contact for information about field centres and regions.
“Part of my role is also to assist clients with questions about park entry fees to determine what park pass is needed for their trip. By using our park pass system I can create park passes on behalf of the client to ensure they are purchasing the cheapest and most efficient pass for their use.”
Lily in her element photographing outdoors
Lily said working for the PWS is the perfect fit for her as she loves exploring Tasmania’s parks and reserves.
“I’ve always been an adventurous person who loves spending time outdoors. I have spent vast amounts of time camping and exploring our national parks, so my current role has been great to extend my knowledge and allowed me to explore further.
“The highlight of my current position is communicating with our clients which has allowed me to grow confidence with speaking over the phone, learn how to deal with challenging situations and create a diverse range of knowledge about experiences in our national parks.
“I enjoy working for the PWS. Everyone has a passion for their positions, a wide range of knowledge, and staff are always happy to share their knowledge, cross train between roles and extend their help to others.”
Painted Cliffs Maria Island National Park, image supplied by Lily
Lily said her favourite memory during her time at the PWS so far was a work trip to Maria Island National Park.
“This was a valuable experience for me as I was able to meet the staff that I talk to over the phone or by email on a regular basis. I was able to see how things operate and learn more about Maria Island by undertaking some of the walks, taking photos of the wildlife and scenery and collecting information from brochures to help with members enquiries.”
Lily has also helped in other areas such as helping the tracks team with registering members for multiday bushwalks, learning the Overland Track and Three Capes Track System, and helping the social media and communications team writing, posting, scheduling, and monitoring social media posts for the PWS on Facebook and Instagram.
Lily’s passion for our parks, reserves and wildlife isn’t just in work hours, it also extends to her hobbies in her free time – a passion for photography.
Bay of Fires, image supplied by Lily
“I have always had an interest in photography. From a young age I have been exploring and camping outdoors with my family. I started taking photos to share with my family and friends at 14 years of age and then started sending submissions to media and agencies,” she said.
“My passion began to grow the more I had the opportunity to take photos, experiment with exposures, different perspectives and learn different styles of photography.
“I love that the scenery never changes yet there is always a different and unique way to capture photos. My favourite spots to photograph are Bay of Fires, Painted Cliffs at Maria Island and Russell Falls at Mt Field. I also love taking photos of wildlife such as birds, wombats, and echidnas.
“While working for the PWS I have also been able to share my photos for our social media pages. This has been great for me as I have been able to learn new things about creating captions, how to reach out to photographers to share their work.
“By spending time in Tasmania’s national parks and reserves I have been able to capture images which gives viewers an impression of what our parks offer.”
Stay tuned for another PWS staff profile soon.
Wombats at Maria Island National Park, image supplied by Lily