Michael Burton-Smith, Junior Lecturer
Michael Burton Smith is a nineteen year old student based in New Zealand’s windy capital city and our first instructor in our new Youth Lecturer Series. Since the age of six, Michael has been captivated by everything bird. It is a passion which has taken him across the country, and brought him up close and personal with our diverse, extraordinary, and increasingly threatened feathered friends. Understanding birds for Michael has always been more than just understanding a living organism. Michael’s other love is history and this passion has led him to explore how humankind’s journey over the past few millennia has been inextricably tied to the masters of the skies, and how our relationship with birds has changed for the better or the worse with new discoveries, technologies, and political regimes. Currently in his second year at Victoria University of Wellington, Michael has embraced the challenge of a quadruple major in political science, history, international relations, and ecology. Despite his youth, Michael has significant experience in community leadership and volunteerism, including policy advising for Forest & Bird Youth, partnerships manager for the Victoria Student Volunteer Army, University Hall President, and secondary school Deputy Head Boy. In spite of these commitments, however, Michael can still be found at the nearest bird hotspot whenever the weather permits, as there is no such thing as too busy for a birding outing!