Current Projects

2019 Projects

Research Grants

Learning sustainable practice through the preparation of pharmaceutical products from mango waste in a Bachelor of Pharmacy Capstone subject

Pictured:  L-R A/Prof. Donna Simpson and Dr Christopher Parkinson


Australia produces approximately 60,000 tonnes of mangoes annually. They are consumed as fruit, juices or processed products such as chutneys. The mango fruit consists of 60-75% flesh, 14-22% seed and 11-18% peel dependant on variety. There are then 15,000 to 25,000 tonnes of waste from processing which is generally disposed of, yet mango peel and mango seed retain useful resources. Increasingly, food security and environmental sustainability are influencing food production and manufacturing, so the opportunity to extract valuable resources from mango processing waste has both economic opportunities and potential health benefits.

Project Contact:  Dr. Christopher Parkinson                                          Funding  $9,046

Gauging stakeholder expectations of the development and management of eco-tourism in a developing country - the case of Cambodia.

Abstract Eco-tourism is a growing industry contributing to 10.4% of Global GDP in 2017. According to a 2016 consumer survey, 37% of tourists globally are likely to book eco-tourism holidays (GlobalData). The UNWTO 2018 Responsible Tourism report asserts that Eco-tourism operates with a holistic view of tourist activity and can foster a broad range of important social and environmental outcomes including inclusivity, economic development, conservation of areas of environmental significance and cultural heritage as well as increasing mutual understanding between people.  While the growing importance of eco-tourism is clear from economic statistics, it is less obvious how eco-tourism practices can blend the needs of multiple stakeholders in order to reach the overarching sustainable tourism goals. Thus, more research needs to be done to understand not only the economic effect but also the environmental, social and cultural impacts of eco-tourism on all stakeholders.

Image Credit:  ASEAN Tourism

Project Contact:  Simon Wright                                       Funding  $9,265

Biodiversity responses to the re-introduction of cultural burns in long unburnt grasslands


Temperate grassy ecosystems in southern Australia have been decimated since European occupation, and the few
remaining remnants are mostly degraded and fragmented. Changes in disturbance regimes had dramatic and rapid
effects—the removal of fire and introduction of livestock grazing resulted in the local extinction of grazing sensitive and
fire-dependent species. Recently, fire has been re-introduced into long unburnt landscapes to restore both biodiversity
and Indigenous connection to country. This provides a rare opportunity to examine if the return of cultural burning to
southern Australia’s landscapes can restore plant diversity. This project will draw upon an ambitious program to reintroduce
fire into central Victoria, which has recently commenced following a landmark agreement between the state
government and the Traditional Owners, Dja Dja Wurrung. This project endeavours to determine the plant diversity
responses to the re-introduction of fire, and determine if cultural fire can result in positive outcomes for biodiversity.

Project Contact: Dr. Jodi Price                                             Funding $9,956

Can Australian native birds recognize the odours of invasive mammalian predators?

Abstract: The introduction of novel exotic predators (e.g. rats, cats) to new regions has been a main cause of bird population declines and extinctions across the globe. Birds are vulnerable to invasive predators, because they may fail to detect and react appropriately to the cues of novel predators, which leads to high levels of bird mortality. In Australia, several species of rats, the feral cat and the red fox are known to be predators of many birds, but to date no study has examined whether Australian birds are naïve to the cues of these predators. We propose to conduct innovative research linking the fields of animal communication and biodiversity conservation. We will answer whether native Australian birds 1) can smell olfactory cues of introduced mammalian predators (e.g. rats, cats, foxes) and change their behaviour accordingly to avoid these predators, and 2) can detect and distinguish between the odours of invasive predators (rats, cats) and native predators (brush-tailed possum, sugar gliders). Since it is logistically not feasible to remove invasive predators from large parts of Australia, there is a real conservation benefit to knowing whether some native birds are able to recognize the odours of invasive predators. Knowledge gained by this project may lead to innovative, sustainable and cost-effective management approaches to ensure the long-term survival of native Australian birds. With this funding, we will be able to develop a track record and compete for external grants to continue research into how naïve birds can learn to co-exist with invasive predators.

Project Contact: Dr. Melanie Massaro                                                  Funding $6,800

Project Grants

TV Studio lighting upgrade to an energy efficient, controllable lighting rig.

Objective: Current lighting facilities in the Creative Hub TV Studio require a large amount of power to operate. Effective lighting for video recording requires 2000W of power per unit.  With 14 lights in the rig, this is a highly inefficient system. Additional temporary units are also used for live performances, providing colour options contributing to further unnecessary waste.

Replacing these light fittings with appropriate colour changing LED units will dramatically reduce the energy use from 28kilowatts to 3.2kilowatts per use, as well as removing the need to add extra lighting for live performance – adding to the load.

Benefits of transferring to this efficient technology, will not only be the extended usability of the space for 10+years, but also a safer work environment. Staff and students would not be required to regularly work at height to install extra lighting or deal with the removal and replacement of broken globes.

For more information contact Becky Russell TV Studio, Bathurst Campus                            Project Funding $7,641

Composting Organic Waste on Bathurst Campus

Objective:  The current project aims to install three composting bays adjacent to the bird aviary on Bathurst CSU campus. The bays will be used by the Division of Facilities Management and students who reside on Bathurst campus. It will also be possible for staff to recycle green waste and this engagement will be driven by Campus environmental committee members.

Image credit:  Sarah LaValley Garden Design

For more information contact Andrew McGrath, Campus Environment Committee, Bathurst    Project Funding: $10,000

Grass Roots Grants

Dubbo Edibile GardensDubbo $1,000
2019 Events -Port Environment Club Port Macquarie $850
Veggie Gardens - Port Macquarie campus residencesPort Macquarie $700
Veggie garden revitalisation - Wagga Residences Wagga Wagga $450
EcoGlitter for Mardi GrasWagga Wagga $454
Sustainability in Veterinary Clinics Wagga Wagga $1,000

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