Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences
Catherine began her professional career helping farmers reclaim drifting sand dunes in the South Australian Mallee, then moved to supporting groups in Victoria with activities as diverse as managing their creek frontages to maintain populations of Trout Cod, to fostering group management skills to maintain Landcare groups. A common thread throughout her agency employment was working with, and learning from, the people who manage the land. Indeed, as she learned more about environmental management she came to appreciate that humans are part of a complex, dynamic social ecological system.
Since commencing employment at CSU in 2004 both Catherine's teaching and research have centred on predominantly social aspects of this social ecological system. Her research interests include regional scale adaptive management, and the related topics of participatory and social learning. Catherine is particularly interested in qualitative research approaches, including participatory, collaborative and action research which empowers communities. She also employs analysis of social discourse to better understand the rural societies in which we live.
Catherine’s work, while often in south-eastern Australia, is expanded by her current role as leader of Program 1 of the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC), and by involvement with groundwater and salinity projects in Pakistan.