I have had over 30 years working in natural resources and environmental management roles in State, Local government and NGOs, where my focus has evolved from a science specialist, to a strategic planner, to a science advocate and now as an engagement and collaboration specialist.
My experience has included working in remote locations as a grasslands ecologist, developing property grazing management strategies with skilled cattle managers, developing and implementing environmental interpretative programs for local communities, developing policy and planning outputs, building a shared vision with politicians on resource management issues. Along the way using science information, strategic planning, motivating and skilling colleagues with integrated approaches to environmental issues and by being an active participant in regional and collaborative planning teams I have experienced a breadth in ways to build a deeper understanding and awareness of complex water related issues.
As a result of the 2011 Queensland wide floods, I opportunistically built a consortium of interested professionals who are striving to better develop ways to design, implement and sustained flood resilience solutions in local communities. This type of network collaboration and shared learning through a “community of practice” approach has proved to be an ideal pathways for skills sharing among colleague from diverse disciplines and at all stages of a professionals career. The approach also opened up ways to bring Dutch and British flood and water experiences into the mix as a shared and motivating learning opportunity. The application of this technique to engage and activate water professionals was also used in projects in Myanmar and Indonesia, where the need to rapidly build holistic “water security” skills is vital.
Collaboration areas of interest
Themes in focus
- Proactive flood resilience design and implementation
- Water modelling and use for decision makers
- Urban and regional water management
- Storytelling and communication for science professionals
Research Scientist – Mundubbera, Charleville and Emerald
- Completed a PhD on nutrient cycling in grazed pastures with CSIRO/UQ collaboration at Narayan Research station near Mundubbera
- Worked in remote rural locations sampling rangelands and establishing medium term grazing trails with local grazier group
- Grazier group network established throughout the Central Highlands area with eight local groups actively developing sustainable land management booklets with Departmental officers 1991 to 1996.
- Collaborative research between Departments of Environment and Primary Industries examined conservation and production values of grazed woodlands
- Implemented ground truthing of NOAA satellite monitoring techniques of green pasture cover in Roma, Charleville and Windorah areas
Strategic Environmental role in Local Government – Toowoomba and Brisbane
- Formulated an Environmental Policy at Toowoomba that subsequently underpinned a wide range of Corporate and project initiatives.
- Initiated with colleagues an urban creek restoration program at Toowoomba, with multiple environmental benefits. Work rewarded with national funding and local awards for the planning and consultation, scope of works, community and traditional custodian involvement.
- Co-ordinated an inaugural Environmental Excellence Awards program for Toowoomba
- Designed and collated all key information for the first State of the Environment Report for Toowoomba
- Developed and initiated a program to scope the Council needs for assessing and managing human health risks in the local waterway network in Brisbane.
- Developed and initiated a program to design and implement a local City-wide Waterway Health Assessment Program in Brisbane
- Negotiated and redesigned a scientific project on sewage overflow impact through the Coastal Zone CRC and Griffith University.
- Developed and initiated a program to design and implement a regional human health program in collaboration with the Moreton Bay Waterways and Catchments Partnership.
Science Advocacy – Brisbane and catchments of the Great Barrier Reef
- Forged a working partnership between farmers and a regional NRM group in Mackay to implement reef friendly farming practices, by securing a $1 million grant from Coca Cola (Project Catalyst – sill going 12 years latter)
- Brokered land use policy options between Australian and State governments, Rural Industry and Regional NRM groups as a member of the Bilateral Government Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Water Quality Plan advisory panel
- Advocated GBR catchment reforms with Federal and State Ministers and their advisors and sought and negotiated “middle ground” land management options with rural industry leaders
- Engaged local government partners in a review and redesign of the SEQ Healthy Waterways assessment program to enable a revision and reprioritization of their joint investments
- Developed State-wide natural hazard land-use planning guideline materials for local government land use planning for floods, bushfire and landslides in consultation with QRA and local government colleagues
- Scientific Expert Panel and Technical Advisory Group for the Moreton Bay Catchments and Waterways Partnership (2002 – 2010)
- Professional development lead for SEQ Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (2002 – 12)
- Non Urban Consultative Group providing technical advice to WESROC and the SEQ Western Catchments Group (1997 – 2003)
- Technical Advisory Group for the Condamine Alliance task of NAP NRM plan development. (2002 – 2003)
- South West Queensland Regional Assessment Panel for NHT projects (1998 – 2001)
- SEQROC Working Group on Environmental Management (1996 – 2001)
- Local Government Association of Queensland, Natural Resources Management Advisory Group (2000-2002)
- Emerald Central Highlands Tree Clearing Guidelines Working Party (1994 – 1996)
- PhD Grassland Ecology, University of Queensland – 1990
- Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours 1st Class) – University of Queensland – 1980
- Graduate, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation – 2003
- Facilitation Master Class – Mary Maher – 2011