ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Community Engagement

  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012


Where the water starts

“Where the Water Starts”, a documentary that looks at the issues surrounding our high country - the tremendous heritage cultural values and the damage wrought by feral horses and party politics, had its premiere virtual screening on FANFORCETV.COM, October 28. The screening was followed by a live Q&A with Director/Producers Mandy King, Fabio Cavadini, Richard Swain and ILWS member Professor David Watson, a long-time advocate for the culling of feral horses in the Kosciuszko National Park.

Geoff Craig memorial lecture

Adjunct Dr Rik Thwaites delivered the Friends of Stanley Athenaeum’s Geoff Craig memorial lecture at the Stanley Memorial Hall, Stanely, in North East Victoria on Sunday, October 25. Rik explored the question ‘Community as climate leaders: if not us, then who?’ The first memorial lecture, which is now held biennially, was held in 2011. It is seen as a platform for a speaker to introduce and explore current issues in the community.

Building a community pollinator garden

As part of a Sustainability at Charles Sturt grant for the A ‘B&B highway’ or Native garden for pollinators on the Bathurst Campus project a community pollinator garden working bee was held on the Bathurst campus, October 16. Twenty-three people  came together on the day to build a garden that would encourage and nourish native pollinators like the Blue-banded Bee and the Bathurst Copper Butterfly.  More than 100 native plants including Grevilleas, Bottlebrush, Melaleuca, Westringia  and Leptospermum were planted and a vertical garden made from reused pallets, filled with flowering daisies was constructed. One of the raised garden beds is dedicated to supplying fresh herbs to support Charles Sturt’s catering crew. As part of the project (which involves Dr Felicity Small) , there are plans for the development of educational material and signage to explain the importance of pollinators. This event was followed by the official launch of PK’s Pollinator and Community Garden and online iNaturalist Training live in the garden, December 9.

Applying science to on-ground action

In October, the Albury Conservation Company (ACC) secured a $330,000 grant from the Ian Potter Foundation’s Sustainable-Environment Program for the project Applying science to on-ground action for conservation of threatened wildlife around Albury-Wodonga (2022). The grant will support the ACC to apply the baseline monitoring data it has been collecting since 2018 to on-ground actions, to help maintain viable populations of threatened species in Albury- Wodonga. The project represents Stage 2 of its long-term, landscape-scale initiative that will partner with Albury and Wodonga Councils, key stakeholders and the community to conserve local threatened species at risk in the main urban growth areas of Albury-Wodonga.

After two years of threatened species monitoring in Albury, in 2020 the ACC expanded its program to include Wodonga. The initial focus of the program, which began in June 2018, was on the Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) across Thurgoona/Wirlinga because of concerns that development of the area, a major urban growth area of Albury, would impact negatively on the gliders’ population. That program was based on a monitoring plan produced by the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology in December 2016. Dr Damian Michael, an ACC Board member (as the CSU representative) and now vice-chair of the Board, conducted a peer review of the plan in 2017 and the monitoring plan was refined accordingly.

In 2020 potential monitoring sites in Wodonga were identified and mapped by ILWS PhD student Liam Grimmett on behalf of the ACC and the program extended by a further 60 sites. Damian will continue to have scientific oversight of the monitoring project as a Board member.

Community Disaster Fatigue

The University’s Disaster and Community Resilience research group are currently investigating disaster fatigue at the community level, initially through the conduct of two case studies, one in the Blue Mountains NSW and the other in Yeppoon, situated in Livingstone Shire, QLD.  As an output of this research, research group member Associate Professor of Emergency Management Valerie Ingham delivered (on-line) a series of workshops at a Community Supporting Community forum, at the Yeppoon Town Hall, September 22, speaking with community leaders about their personal preparation for a crisis and the indications of disaster fatigue in their employees and client groups.

Talk on mistletoes

Professor Dave Watson gave an on-line talk on mistletoes on September 6 for an event organised by the Whitehorse City Council for its Whitehorse Trees and Urban Forest Education Program which offers free workshops and presentations. The program is designed to raise raise awareness about the benefits of trees in an urban environment and to encourage residents to plant and maintain more trees group.

Navigating climate change

Institute Adjuncts Professor Richard Loyn and Professor Max Finlayson presented at an on-line forum “Navigating climate change in north-east landscapes” organised by the NRM community group Swamps, Rivers & Ranges with the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria, August 27.Richard, president of Swamps, Rivers & Ranges, gave a presentation on bird monitoring. Max’s presentation was ‘Wetlands as a signal of climate change’.

Reptile habitat

Ecologist Dr Damian Michael assisted seven young people from the Federation Council’s Youth, Create and Celebrate group build a reptile habitat at Corowa’s Whitehead St wetland on August 14 in an event supported by Corowa District Landcare and other local community groups.

Refugee Week 2021

As part of Refugee Week 2021, Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko took part in the Refugee Welcome Zone National Forum held July 8. The on-line forum was organised by the Refugee Council of Australia in partnership with the Whitlam Institute, at Western Sydney University. More than 60 councils and community representatives came together to explore the significant and often unacknowledged role that local government can play in assisting refugee settlement and promoting community harmony. Branka was a panellist for the session: “Refugees rejuvenating and connecting communities:  How the Hazara community has transformed Port Adelaide-Enfield.”

Border District Newspapers on Trove from 1860 to 1949

Institute Adjunct and historian Professor Bruce Pennay has been the driving force behind a push to have the Border District (Albury-Wodonga)’s newspapers, from 1860 to 1949 on the National Library of Australia’s Trove website. As of July Trove has at least one border district newspaper from 1860 to 1949 - the Albury Banner & Wodonga Express back to its first edition in 1860, and the Border Morning Mail covering the years 1903-1920, and 1938-49. It marks the end of the Albury & District Historical Society’s five year project funded by the NSW Regional Cultural Fund, the Public Record Office (Vic), the Royal Australian Historical Society, Inland Rail, the Commercial Club of Albury, Albury Library Museum, Charles Sturt University and private donors.

Community vision for the Koondrook-Perricoota forest

A series of community engagement events, facilitated by the Western Murray Land Improvement Group, were held between December 2020 and March 2021 aimed at developing a cohesive community vision for the Koondrook-Perricoota forest. As part of these, Dr John Connalin was one of two experts offering practical knowledge to community participants at a Koondrook-Perricoota Visioning Workshop, February 26. In March, the Edward/Kolety-Wakool Environmental Water Reference Group, held a meeting at Barham where Professor Robyn Watts gave an update on the MER project and other projects planned for the system. The meeting was followed by a field trip to Pollack Swamp.

Workshop on creating habitat for reptiles

Dr Damian Michael was invited to hold a workshop at the Corowa wetlands on how to create habitat for reptiles May 1 with seven selected high school students from across the Riverina. The project was funded by the Corowa District Landcare Group.


Community Engagement Workshops at Barham

As part of its community engagement activities, members of the MER-Edward/Kolety Wakool project held school  workshops in collaboration with WMLIG (Western Murray Land Improvement Group) on December 1 and 2 at the WMLIG facilities in Barham. Primary and high school students from Wakool, Tooleybuc, and Moulamein were bussed in to Barham in five by one hour sessions spread across the two days. Each session included a combination of short talks (with lots of pics) as well as some hands on activities using microscopes to look at live macroinvertebrates and some preserved fish larvae.

Mistletoe workshops

Professor David Watson, an expert on mistletoes, shared his knowledge about mistletoe at two on-site workshops at Yanco and Griffith in October.

Domestic Violence Project 2650

Dr Stacey Jenkins is a member on the Steering Committee of  Wagga City Council’s Domestic Violence Project 2650

The project which runs until June 2021 is currently focused on three key areas:

  • Organisational change – creating an equitable and respectful workplace within Wagga City Council
  • Sector engagement – collaborating with businesses, organisations, educational institutions and sporting clubs across Wagga
  • Community-wide campaigns – engaging with Wagga Wagga residents of all demographics

The project aims to educate the community on the causes of violence against women and their children, promote gender equality and respect, and challenge rigid gender roles and stereotypes.

Care Factor: Stories from the home and hospice

As an associated event for the Museum of the Riverina’s storytelling exhibition “Care Factor- Stories from the home and hospice”, a Facebook Live online event Panel Discussion/Myth Busting: When someone dies at home, with Masters of Ceremonies Associate Professor Maree Bernoth was held on October 7. The recording of the event is available on the Museum’s web page at

Renewable energy and businesses

Dr Simon Wright, a lecturer in Sustainability and Strategy and Director of Simply Sustainable, and Institute Adjunct Ashley Bland, Managing Director of Constructive Energy, were members of a panel of local experts in the energy sector from the Bathurst region who took part in an Upstairs Startup Hub and virtual panel conversation, September 17.

MER Murrumbidgee team presentation

Dr Damian Michael and Gaye Bourke gave a community group presentation to the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists via zoom on September 10.

Street Art

Institute Adjunct Dr Geoff Heard’s photograph of a Growling Grass Frog has been used for a commissioned mural using native Australian species in Coburg. The Moreland Council aims to reduce graffiti in areas with high tagging rates by commissioning the murals.

Environmental Justice

Institute Adjunct Professor Max Finlayson gave a presentation on “The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands & the Gippsland Lakes” at a virtual Gippsland Lakes community workshop organised by Environmental Justice Victoria, Sept 8.

Exhibition to commemorate the end of World War 11

Historian Associate Professor Bruce Pennay authored an on-line exhibition together with the Wodonga Historical Society to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The exhibition which focuses on the impact of the war on Wodonga and its surrounds was launched on August 15 and is accessible on the historical society’s web site at

Understanding Ageing

A free on-line course developed by CSU lecturer Robin Harvey and ILWS member Dr Belinda Cash on Understanding Ageing has been well-received.  Officially launched by the Federal Member for Indi Dr Helen Haines on July 22, the course is designed to increase knowledge about ageing and later life for community members and prospective students. It also challenges common myths and misconceptions that often surround ageing.

Dr Haines commended the foresight and leadership of Charles Sturt academics in developing and delivering such an important and timely program, reflecting on the importance of strategies such as this that work to improve how older adults are viewed and valued in our community.

The course is an initiative of the Leadership in Healthy Ageing Network and follows the successful webinar Exploring impacts of social isolation on older adults, presented by Dr Cash on April 28.

From the ashes: Australia Re-imaged

Associate Professor Dale Nimmo was one of three members of an expert panel who took part in a free webinar “From the ashes: Australia Re-imaged” presented by The Conversation and the National Library of Australia (NLA) on June 19. The other presenters were social scientist Assistant Professor Petra Buergelt and planning expert Professor Barbara Norman. The experts addressed three questions:

  • How have the fires forced us to rethink ourselves, our communities and our relationship with nature?
  • What lessons have we learned?
  • How can we prevent disasters in the future?

The event was chaired by Nicole Hasham, Environment + Energy Editor at The Conversation. By July 27, the video had had 596 views. Watch it here

Hop Into Frogs

A primary school learning and teaching resource that Dr Alexandra Knight has been working on together with Corowa District Landcare over the last few years has been released. The resource "Hop Into Frogs – A teaching resource about frogs and wetlands around Corowa and districts" contains an introductory video for the resource’s two components:- a teaching resource with class activities; and an interactive presentation which contains information on frog facts, Corowa’s local frogs, local frog habitats, and threats to frogs.

The resource which was developed with assistance from the NSW Government through its Environment Trust  also features the song, sung by South Corowa Primary School children, that Alex wrote  after completing her PhD on “The case for Sloane’s Froglet: Generating ecological knowledge with the intent to benefit biodiversity” in 2015. The frogs in the song are named after Professor Murray Littlejohn, who discovered Sloane’s Froglet back in the 1950s and his late wife Patsy.

Southern Bell frog coloring book

Conservation biologist and Institute Adjunct Dr Helen Waudby has teamed with artist Dr Paul Peeters to produce a delightful colouring book on Southern Bell frogs. The book – The Southern Bell frog Story - a  colouring adventure and treasure hunt – is an e-book,  free to download and then print out, and is available from Paula’s “Paperbark Writer” blog page. Following the Southern Bell Fog’s journey from tiny egg, to tadpole, to a young frog, it contains important conservation messages as well as exquisite images. The book is for children and adults, and the authors hope that parents will enjoy reading about southern bell frogs too. The book was funded by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Check it out at

Thinking Fish – Saving Native Fish in the Murray Darling Basin

OzFish Unlimited, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes sustainable fishing and protecting native fish and habitat, put together two CSU hosted public seminars, “Thinking Fish – Saving Native Fish in the Murray Darling Basin”, which were held at CSU’s Dubbo campus, on February 25, and at the Wagga Wagga campus, March 12.

Funded by the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the seminars focused on the Murray Darling Basin and the plight of native fish. The speakers are experts in their fields and were able to highlight the current challenges and opportunities for fish within regional and rural communities along this vast river system.

ILWS Adjunct Dr Martin Mallen-Cooper was one of six speakers at the Dubbo event, which attracted about 60 attendees. He spoke on ‘Flow, habitat and connectivity: three pillars of fish recovery’ and ‘What were the Darling and Macquarie rivers like in droughts 100 years ago and can it help us manage rivers better now?

ILWS Adjuncts Dr Craig Boys, and Luke Pearce (NSW DPI-Fisheries) were among the four speakers at the Wagga event which attracted about 45 attendees. (Professor Lee Baumgartner was to speak at this event but his talk was cancelled because of restrictions associated with COVID-19.) Craig spoke on ‘Screens for streams’ and Luke on ‘Fish in the Murrumbidgee: before, now and the future.’

Mitta Valley Southern Bell Frog Surveys

This small project, (Mitta Valley Southern Bell Frog Surveys 2019. (2019-2020) Wassens, S., Turner, A. Landcare Australia, $1498) which was undertaken by ILWS PhD student Anna Turner, was  done very much as a community engagement activity with the Mitta Valley Landcare group. The project kicked of with an event on November 9, 2019, organised by Dr David Hunter, DPIE, through the Saving our Species program who introduced Anna to members of the Landcare group and the aim of the project. The project involved frog surveys targeting the Southern Bell frog ( Litoria raniformis) along the Mitta Mitta River, North-east Victoria, during the 2019-20 breeding season (November-Dec).  The surveys were designed to repeat previous surveys done in 2009 which found Southern Bell frogs at different sites along the Mitta Mitta River between Tallangatta and Tallandoon.  However, further surveys done in 2016 did not detect any Southern Bell frogs. While the survey in 2019-20 didn't detect any Southern bell frogs, this was thought to be because of (a) annual rainfall in north-east Victoria was in the driest 10 per cent of records during 2019, and (b) dry, smokey conditions (caused by the summer bushfires, could have reduced detectability of the species.


Putting the customer first

New ILWS member Dr Clifford Lewis gave a public lecture in September on “Putting the customer at the hear of the service experience” at the Centre for Professional Development at CSU Bathurst as part of BizMonth presented by CenWest Innovate and the Bathurst Regional Council.

Shark sentiment survey

ILWS social media coordinator Simone Engdahl assisted with the promotion of a survey on attitudes to shark management and conservation for the shark sentiment studies projects led by Associate Professor Peter Simmons in August. The Facebook ad campaign targeted the coastal areas of NSW, specifically beach and water users. The survey findings will help inform Government policy and communication on shark management and conservation strategies. The ads ran for a couple of weeks in conjunction with the research team’s targeted emails and approaches to surf lifesaving clubs, local chambers of commerce, local business and members of the focus groups. In late September the survey was extended to include Queensland and Western Australia.

Managing rocky outcrops

Dr Damian Michael ran a field day on how to manage rocky outcrops on farms for the Hodgson and Horseshoe Creek Landcare Group on  September 15.

Coolamon Community Chronicle

Associate Professor Maree Bernoth continues to write regular articles for the Coolamon Community Chronicle. Titles of articles published this year include “Recognition of people who make valuable contributions to our community” and with co-authors Alicia Carey and Keryl de Haan, “Supporting new Mums who live in isolated areas.”

Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association

LWS PhD student research ecologist Richard McLellan was invited to be the guest speaker, speaking about the ‘Santalaceae Science’ project, at the Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association AGM meeting, August 22,  at Charles Darwin Reserve, east of Perenjori, in Western Australia.

Swamps Rivers & Ranges

As president of Swamps Rivers & Ranges (a local NRM group which also runs a bird monitoring program) Institute Adjunct Dr Richard Loyn gave public presentations on bird monitoring at a meeting on the NECMA/Trust for Nature “Bush for Birds” program (Rutherglen, August 22) and at an event the group  organised at Murmungee, September 15 on “Bird monitoring – making it count”.

Reptiles of Nail Can Hill

Dr Damian Michael led a community field day to learn about threats to reptiles of Nail Can Hill, Albury on August 18.

Campus visit by Year 6 students

On August 7, Associate Professor Lee Baumgartner and the School of Environmental Science’s Matt Hunt, and lab staff Rob Cook and Kelly Thomas, hosted the entire cohort of Year 6 students (57) from Thurgoona Public School at the University’s Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona for a “university experience student day.” Activities on the day included radio tracking, handling a simulated oil spill and an activity based on a short lecture by Lee related to his research in the Mekong Basin.

Hamelin Science Fair

ILWS PhD student research ecologist Richard McLellan presented the collaborative ‘Santalaceae Science’ project at the Hamelin Science Fair in early August at Hamelin Station Reserve, near Shark Bay, in Western Australia. Hamelin Reserve is owned and managed by Bush Heritage Australia – one of the partners in the broader ‘Santalaceae Science’ project led by Professor David Watson. Richard’s presentation was principally an introduction to the project and its researchers, which includes ILWS Honours student Georgina Gould-Hardwick.

Yamaji Women on Country

ILWS PhD student research ecologist Richard McLellan  presented his ‘Santalaceae Science’ project to Aboriginal women at three ‘Yamaji Women on Country’ workshops held in midwest Australia – at Geraldton, Kalbarri, and Denham, Shark Bay in August. The workshops, all of which engaged Aboriginal communities within Richard's study area, were aimed at encouraging increased participation by Aboriginal women in environmental research and monitoring projects and activities within the Yamaji region. Richard  was encouraged by the participants response to the research project and their willingness to be involved in the study and its outcomes.

Exploration series

As part of CSU’s Exploration series, Dr Lee Baumgartner gave a public talk to an audience of more than 60 people on The Menindee Fish Kills – How did it get to this? At the Groundstone Café in Orange on July 31. His talk focused on the fish deaths and water management in the Murray-Darling Basin, providing an insight on the work, findings and recommendations of the independent panel established by the Government to assess a series of large scale fish deaths.

Birds in our backyard

Dr Damian Michael gave a talk on how to attract birdlife to your garden to the Wodonga Urban Landcare Group on July 7.

Saving a tiny frog

Nearly 90 high and primary school students from the Corowa area took part in a wetland replanting activity on July 2 as part of activities associated with a grant that the Corowa District Landcare group and Dr Alexandra Knight have from the NSW Environment Trust to help save the now nationally endangered Sloane’s froglet. As well as being used to rehabilitate wetlands around Corowa, the grant is funding a cohesive wetland and Sloane’s froglet education program. The school students were joined by the NSW Member for Albury, The Hon. Justin Clancy and representatives from Federation Council.

Post-fire germination

ILWS PhD student Joshua Hodges who gave a presentation on “A study of post-fire germination in grassy woodlands at Gobur” was one of the speakers at a Strathbogie Ranges CMN/Goulburn-Broken CMA day in Euroa on Natural Research in the Strathbogie Ranges, June 27 at the Euroa Football Club.

Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare

Institute Adjunct Dr Helen Waudby, from NSW OEH, along with colleague Dr David Hunter, presented at an information evening on June 21 organised by the Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group on frogs, their habitat, and how to take recordings and identify frog calls for a citizen science frog monitoring program.


As part of Charles Sturt Engineering’s Engfest  program, Drs Lalantha Senevirathna, Reza Mahinroosta and Miao Li gave a presentation  on their recent work and remediation of PFAS at CSU’s Bathurst campus on June 12.

Pint of Science

ILWS PhD student Matt O’Connell gave a presentation on his Murray Cod research at the Malt Shed, Wangaratta, on May 22 as part of the Pint of Science Australia’s broader international Pint of Science Festival

Aged Care

Associate Professor Maree Bernoth presented at the Aged Care Community Forum in Dubbo, May 7.  This was an event organised and promoted by the UDRH to facilitate a community of Dubbo submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety. Over 50 people attended including a large proportion of Aboriginal older women and Aboriginal support workers who contributed their ideas and experiences.

Ageing research

Associate Professor Maree Bernoth gave a presentation to the Wollundry Ladies Probus Club on her research in ageing and information about end of life decision making, May 1.

Secret life of mistletoes

Professor Dave Watson gave a talk on “The secret life of mistletoes : advances in understanding their ecological role and ecosystem function’ in Geraldton, WA, on May 1.Dave was in Geraldton as part of a month-long field trip for a research project he leads on native sandalwoods.

Birds and why they matter

Dr Richard Loyn gave a public lecture on “Birds and why they matter: windows on the world” at the Burke Museum in Beechworth, Feb 28.


Bonegilla Migrant Camp reunion

Institute Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Pennay gave a talk on the stories of the migrants that came through the camp as part of the activities for the Bonegilla Migrant Camp reunion, November 2-3.

Nature Mapping

Dr Alexandra Knight and Dr Rachel Whitsed ran two workshops, open to the public, teaching people how to find, identify and record plants and animals. The focus of these workshops was to provide tools for better identification of species and introduce workshop participants to mapping records and inputting them into the Atlas of Living Australia.  The workshops occurred over two weekends:
Field Observations – the How of observing and recording nature, Sat 6 October, 4.30pm-8pm, Ryans Lagoon, Bonegilla.
Mapping change over time - Sun 14 October, 10am-3pm, CSU Albury-Wodonga campus.

Birds and gardens

Institute Adjunct Richard Loyn led a "Birds and gardens" event for the Stanley Landcare group on October 16. He also gave a presentation on despotic birds and their effects on the ecosystem structure in flood-prone Black Box woodlands, to the Swamps, Rivers & Ranges local NRM group in Wangaratta, Oct 16, and has accepted a position on that group's committee.

Author visit

As part of fundraising for the 2019 Bathurst  Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, Associate Professor Alison Gerard, Director of CSU’s Centre for Law & Justice, was in-conversation with Australian author and broadcaster Clementine Ford at a fund-raising evening at the Bathurst Memorial Centre, October 2. Ms Ford spoke about her new book Books Will Be Boys.

Public Lecture

Dr Kath McFarlane, Deputy Director - Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University, presented a public lecture on “Nagle to Now 40 Years of Prison Reform and Rehabilitation” on Thursday, August 23, at CSU Bathurst. Dr McFarlane spoke about the impact of the Nagle Royal Commission, which came about after an incident in 1974 when Bathurst Jail burned as inmates rose up against living conditions inside the correctional centre. Also speaking was Bill Walsh, the first police officer on the scene at the Bathurst Jail riots. Photos, inverviewas and a video clip at

Spreading the Word

Frog ecologist Dr Alexandra Knight has been busy spreading the word about frogs. Activities included:

  • Frogs ‘n Fish Workshop, August 16-17. Seventy seven students from Corowa, Corowa South, Lowesdale and Howlong public schools attended a workshop at the Rivergum Holiday Park, Corowa.The students were participating in a Corowa District Landcare’s Junior Landcare program and, as part of this, learnt more about Sloane’s Froglet, frog habitat, and the importance of frogs from Alex.
  • Frog ID and Arboreal Mammals, Sept 27. Twenty-eight people attended a dusk walk and talk hosted by the Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability Group at Lake Sambell with Alex identifying local frog species by call and spotlighting arboreal mammals.
  • Community frog event, Mitta Mitta, October 27

Planting Day

It was a bit chilly, and muddy underfoot, but that didn’t deter a willing band of around 10 helpers participating in the School Leaver Employment Supports package (administered by Job Centre Australia with funding from the NDIS Finding & Keeping a Job program) taking part in revegetation efforts at CSU’s Albury-Wodonga campus on August 7.The recent school leavers and support staff planted native grasses to provide cover for a small population of the vulnerable Sloane’s froglet establishing itself near the David Mitchell Wetlands on campus. Ecologist Dr Geoff Heard was on hand to answer questions from local media and the helpers about the froglet… and plant a native grass or two. The event was organised by CSU Green.

CenWest Innovate

Activities held August to November include:

  • Student Startup Weekend in conjunction with Upstairs Startup Hub at CSU Bathurst, August 3 to 4
  • Next Stage Growth Program presentation to Bathurst’s Inspiring Women, August 17
  • Recruitment Masterclass: Modern practices to secure your business future, presented by Dr Stacey Jenkins (CSU) and Tamara James (Pulse HR) at Young and Cowra, August 29, and Orange, August 30
  • Public Relations Stakeholder Analysis Masterclass, Sept 6, Bathurst. Presented by Sharon Schoenmaker, from the School of Communication and Creative Industries.
  • Winning Negotiations Masterclass, presented by Kevin Ryan, Lithgow, Bathurst, October 10; Parkes, Dubbo, October 11
  • Next Stage Growth Program presentation for The Power of Connection – Celebrating Small Business Month, Blayney Council Business Networking forum, October 16
  • Next Stage Growth Program expo for Forbes Council Celebrating Small Business Month - Business Networking, October 16

Extending Albury newspaper coverage on Trove

Institute Adjunct Professor Bruce Pennay, a committee member of the Albury & District Historical Society, is one of the people behind moves to extend Albury newspapers coverage on Trove. The Society has been successful in getting a grant towards extending the digitalising of papers back to 1881 and forward to 1942.

CenWest Innovate

Activities held May to July include:

  • Next Stage Growth Program – six month business acceleration program commenced April – concludes October 2018
  • Business ‘boot camp’ presented  by Troy Haines, CEO of the SPACE business incubator (an operation in Cairns that offers a co-working space, programs and resources as it aims to nurture entrepreneurship in ‘Far North Queensland) in Bathurst at the upstairs Startup Hub, May 4 to 5
  • Bathurst Business Chamber networking evening, May 8
  • 35 female high school students participating in a two and a half day social entrepreneurship program at CSU Bathurst campus, June 6 to 8. Held in partnership with Young Change Agents
  • The Boosting Business Innovation Forum was a one day public event held at CSIRO Lindfield on June 14 which showcased CSU’s Walan Mayinygu, AgTech Incubator and the CenWest Innovate innovation programs
  • Guest speaker at the NSW Regional Technology and Innovation Expo Forum, Orange 22 June
  • As a guest of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, CenWest Innovate hosted Professor Peter Kelly from Aalto University, Finland, who gave two talks on “How do successful entrepreneurs operate? and “The Design of Entrepreneurship Education” at CSU Bathurst, June 28

Look Up & Pucker Up: Nature in unexpected places

As part of a City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest and Ecology Team promotion encouraging people in the city to appreciate nature in the city, Professor David Watson spoke on mistletoe at a public event held at the Donkey Wheel House in Bourke Street, Melbourne, on July 16. Professor Watson has led a project in Melbourne which is trialling plantings of mistletoe in plane trees in inner city Melbourne.

Fish farm visit

On June 1 Dr Lee Baumgartner and Jarrod McPherson visited farmer Paul Trevethan’s property “Tara” at Howlong. Paul has diversified into fish farming and the researchers visited the property to learn more about “best practice plumbing in sheds” as part of the background research for the new shed that is being built as part of their Snowy 2.0 project.

Friend or foe?

Professor David Watson was a special guest speaker at a Trust for Nature’s “Mistletoe-friend or foe” field day, Grayton, May 19. The day was supported by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare program.

Community meetings

Community meetings were held at the Jindera Community Hub and the Federation Council Chambers at Corowa on May 15 where the results of a joint study (Community driven economic change in small rural community local economic zones. Morrison, M. (2017-2018) Federation Council, $50,000 ) on the economic health of the Murray region were presented.

Saving freshwater turtles

Dr James Van Dyke together with Professor Rick Spencer from Western Sydney University gave a public seminar on turtle conservation at Wonga Wetlands, near Albury on May 11 to an audience of about 30. The pair gave an outline of their research work so far, and proposed actions to save the Murray River turtle population which include a proposal to set up a regional turtle hatchery. About half of Australia’s turtle species are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. They also spoke about the effects of fox and road kills on the turtle population.

Turtle Conservation

Dr James Van Dyke gave a talk on "Reducing the Impacts of Foxes on Turtles at Winton Wetlands" at a "Sticking our necks out for turtle conservation" community engagement event at Winton Wetlands on April 14. The event was organised by the Friends of Winton Wetlands community group.

Education session for nurses

Associate Professor Maree Bernoth was invited to present an education session to the Clinical Nurse Consultants and Clinical Midwifery Consultants from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District to encourage them to engage with research on April 14

CenWest Innovate

CenWest Innovate is a collaboration between CSU and the NSW Department of Industry which aims to support the development of entrepreneurship, innovation and small business management capacity in Central West NSW. Roadshows for its six month Next Stage Growth Program were held in February in Oberon, Bathurst, Orange, Parkes, Young, Dubbo with the current program running April 19 to October 5. As part of its Speaker Sessions Dr Denise Jepsen, from Macquarie University and ILWS member Associate Professor Russel Roberts gave presentations on "Increasing employee engagement, wellbeing and effectiveness’, April 4 at Lithgow and Bathurst, and on April 5 at Murrumburrah.

Print Fest

Dr Jessie Lymn gave a talk "HALF + HALF" at the ‘Halfway Print Fest (HPF), a celebration of independent publishing, at the Museum of the Riverina in Wagga Wagga, March 3.

Politics and promise of NBN

Dr Travis Holland, a lecturer in communication and digital media at CSU’s Bathurst campus, presented the first in a series of eight talks for Bathurst University of Third Age (U3A) for its Monday Morning Show, on Monday, February 5, 2018. His talk was on ‘The Politics and Promise of the NBN.’


Sounding the Chorus for Frogs

Dr Alexandra Knight gave a talk at the Whitehead Street Wetland Open Day, Corowa, December 4 as part of the launch of the Corowa District Landcare Group's new $40,000 Sounding the Chorus for Frogs in Corowa’s Wetlands project funded by the NSW Environment Trust.

Secretive birds

ILWS PhD student Liz Znidersic did a presentation/field day on “The secretive birds at Big Waterhouse Lake” based on her research to the North-East Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club Inc. on December 9.  Liz also had a morning at St Helens Primary School talking about birds in early December.

Macquarie Perch research

An information evening to inform the local community on the results of a research project looking at Macquarie Perch numbers in the Mannus Creek in the Upper Murray was held in the Tooma Hall, December 7.The evening was  presented by Luke Pearce, from NSW DPI Fisheries, and Dr Luiz Silva.

Community workshop

Dr Jonathon Howard, together with Dr Tim Clune from La Trobe University’s Business School, organised and facilitated a community workshop- Celebrating Our Region’s Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals-  in Wodonga on November 29, 2017, to raise awareness of and to celebrate the Border Region’s current contribution to the delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  Forty-seven participants representing community groups, not-for-profit entities, education providers, private sector and local government from across the border region, from Albury to Benalla, attended.

Carp virus

Dr Lee Baumgartner gave a talk on the carp virus to the Upper Murray Landcare Group in Corryong on October 26.

Birds and Conservation

Institute Adjunct Richard Loyn gave a talk on “Birds, people, despots and conservation: windows on the world” the Warby Ranges Landcare group at Hamilton Park, October 20, and another, to the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Cranbourne on October 29 on “Birds and why they matter:windows on the world.”

Indigenous values of lakes and rivers

Professor Max Finlayson attended a meeting in Kerang, Victoria, to discuss potential projects on indigenous values of lakes and rivers. The meeting, with local indigenous people on October 4, was facilitated by Mike Nurse from the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporation.

Inaugural Nell Riordan lecture

Professor Linda Shields, a nurse researcher, was the guest lecturer at the inaugural Nell Riordan lecture series held at Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Sept 8.

Consultative meeting

In respect to his role as an Independent Scientist with the Lake Cowal Foundation, Professor Max Finlayson attended a Community Environment and Mining Consultative Committee meeting in Forbes, August 30.

Mullumbimby Hydro

On July 27, Dr Lee Baumgartner, Dr Nathan Ning and Annette Davies, CSU's Research Partnership Manager, went to Mullumbimby in northern NSW to tour the Mullumbimby community-owned renewable energy project which aims to reinstate the Mullumbimby Hydropower Plan and to discuss fish issues associated with that. The plant is the fourth ever hydropower plant built in Australia and the community is looking at reinstating it so that Mullumbimby can be powered completely off-grid.

Regional Rail

Institute Adjunct Associate Ian Gray attended a meeting of regional rail user groups in Goulburn on July 19 which discussed how they could work together to further improve passenger train services in NSW.Represented were the Orange Action Croup, the Border Rail Action Croup and the Southern Tablelands Rail Users Group (STRUG). The groups have formed a joint umbrella organisation called Regional Rail Action NSW and highlighted a number of key issues to start lobbying about including more passenger services for regional NSW.

A/Prof Gray has also produced a new documentary "Living Rail – In Junee and the Riverina" which was launched at the Junee Roundhouse Museum's 70th birthday celebrations. The short video is on sale at the Museum.

Forum on carp virus

In April Dr Lee Baumgartner together with Matt Barwick from Fisheries Research and Development Corporation presented at a community forum in Albury on the proposed carp virus release. The event was organised by the South West Anglers Association and attended by 120 people from as far abroad as Temora and Tocumwal.

CenWest Innovate

Activities hosted by CenWest Innovate (of which Professor Mark Morrison is the director) this year include:

  • 'Starting a Business' boot camp March 24 & 25, at Bathurst. The boot camp was led by Troy Haines, CEO of the SPACE, and focused on the theme of 'Turning Ideas into Reality' to invigorate and inspire a start-up business community in the NSW Central West.
  • Developing Regional Entrepreneurial Ecosystems forum, at Bathurst, April 28. The aim of the forum was to show how to best support the development of business in the region. Speakers included University of Canterbury's Professor Morgan Miles, Troy Haines from the Space, Professor Mark Morrison and Professor John Hicks
  • Digital Marketing Masterclass: Move your business forward, at Bathurst, May 4. Speakers were Dr Paul Harrigan UWA, Dr Michael Mehmet ILWS and Peter Sutton Kai Ming Consulting
  • Branding and Target Marketing for Business Success seminar - Bathurst, Orange in July
  • Pricing Your Products Masterclass - Parkes, Orange, Bathurst in September
  • Cyber Security for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises – Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst in November
  • Next Stage Growth Program. This six month program aims to support the development of existing sustainable businesses that want to move to the 'next stage' of their development. NSGP runs July to Dec. 2017

CenWest Innovate (which is supported by the NSW Department of Industry has also partnered/been a supporting sponsor of:

  • Building Community Resilience Expo, Bathurst, May 19
  • Central West Business Summit 2017, May 30
  • Building Community Resilience Expo, Orange, June 2
  • EngFest Industry Day, June 7
  • EngFest Expo Day, June
  • Bathurst Business Leaders lunch, June 22

Artist in Residence

Institute Adjunct Dr Mary Rosengren is undertaking an Artist In Residence project with Falls Creek Resort Management (FCRM) that is based on Khorloo Batpurev's current MA research project (Botany —Melb University) of peatlands on Bogong High Plains.

HSC Chemistry Program

Dr Julia Howitt was involved in CSU's annual HSC Chemistry program held in February at the Wagga Wagga campus, and was one of the scientists interviewed by chemistry students as part of the program.

Critical Issues in Water

Institute Adjunct Professor Kathleen Bowmer presented a series of 8 sessions (January to April) for the University of the Third Age in Wagga Wagga.


Biocultural Knowledge Workshop

Biocultural Knowledge Workshop, organised with the support of Murray LLS, was held December 6, 2016 at the Wonga Wetlands, Albury. Twenty four people representing CSU and the Institute, Murray LLS, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, Murray Darling Wetland Working Group, Albury City Council, Murray Darling Basin Authority, Macquarie University, University of Western Sydney, and NSW Office of Environment & Heritage attended the workshop.

Fall of the Derwent

Fall of the Derwent is an ongoing public artwork by the Institute's Associate Professor Margaret Woodward and Justy Phillips (UTas) presented by GASP (Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park) Tasmania, as part of Swimmable: Reading the River. It was launched at a public event on 26 November 2016. The project is supported by Arts Tasmania, Ian Potter Foundation, Australia Council and Glenorchy City Council and Telstra.

Public lecture

Associate Professor Dr Branka Krivokapic-Skoko gave a public lecture on "Regional Australia: a place
to call home for immigrants" in Port Macquarie on Monday, Nov 21.

Community Event

On Friday, November 4, 2016 the Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group held a spotlighting night at the Hume Dam Wall Reserve picnic area with Drs Wayne Robinson and Alison Matthews.

Meeting with High Commissioner

On October 6, 2016 members of the research team for the project Improving groundwater management to enhance farming livelihoods in Pakistan team met with Her Excellency, High Commissioner of Pakistan, Naela Chohan.

Conserving birds

Dr Dale Nimmo, on behalf of the Greater Eastern Ranges Slopes 2 Summit Initiative gave a presentation on the importance of riparian vegetation for the conservation of woodland birds at the Murray Local Land Services office in Albury on August 15.


The Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre, at Burrumbuttock, held an Open Day on Sept 11. Taking part in the day were researchers Professor David Watson, Dr Maggie Watson and Dr Melanie Massarro, all of whom are on the centre's management committee. Maggie helped run some of the activities "for children of all ages" and Melanie gave a talk on her work in Antarctica.

Fish information sessions

As part of an Upper Murray Streams and Rivers Fish Information Session attended by 27 people, freshwater fish ecologist Dr Lee Baumgartner gave a presentation on "Why on earth do we want to release a virus to eradicate carp? Other speakers were from the North East Catchment Management Authority and Fisheries Victoria. The event, held at the Towong Shire Council offices in Corryong, October 19, was organised by the Upper Murray Landcare Network.

Lord Howe Island visit

Associate Professor Rosemary Black made a visit, in October, to Lord Howe Island to promote the work of ILWS and explore potential research collaborations. There she met with eleven people who are based on the Island including staff members of the Lord Howe Island Board and Marine Parks, members of the tourism industry and commercial operators.

The Livvi's Place Project: Exploring community views on Livvi's Place Playspace, Port Macquarie

For this project, funded by a CSU's Rural and Regional Community Initiated Research Grant, Touched By Olivia (the not-for-profit organisation which partnered with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to establish Livvi's Place in 2014) commissioned Dr Janice Ollerton and Associate Professor Rosemary Black to explore the local community's views on Livvi's Place using face-to-face and on-line surveys. The research, conducted in April 2016, found that Livvi's Place was a well used playspace where people expressed a sense of belonging in terms of feeling safe and welcome.

Celebrating iconic Eucalypts

Dr Peter Spooner was one of the contributors to Corowa District Landcare's book Beauty, Rich and Rare, Celebrating our Region's Iconic Eucalypts launched in June, 2016.The book includes a section on survey blaze trees - the subject of a project Dr Spooner and his Honours student Jake Shoard did two years ago using a citizen-science approach involving members of Corowa Landcare and local landholders. Some other large Eucalypt trees identified in a previous project led by Dr Spooner (through the Slopes to Summit's Big Tree Competition) were also included in the book.

School visits

Dr Manu Saunders visited Grade 5s at Trinity College, Albury on June 3 as part of the School Environment Day activities to talk about wild pollinators. The visit was one of the conditions of her 2015 Outstanding Outreach Award from the Office of Environment & Heritage/Ecological Society of Australia. Dr Saunders, and the other award winners based in Sydney, Melbourne & Canberra, ran an ecological experiment with a local school class to collect pollinator insects on the school grounds.


Dr Manu Saunders is  the new curator of Australia's Best Nature & Ecology Blogs@ Best.Ecology.Blogs previously managed by ILWS Adjunct researcher Associate Professor Ian Lunt.

Friends of Yackandandah Creek

Institute Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Joanne Millar  is a member of the Friends of Yackandandah Creek Committee which is working on a Wetland Rehabilitation Project. She has facilitated Dr Alex Knight to do a frog survey of the area before and after revegetation (funded by a Federal Government Threatened Species Grant for the wetland project). Dr Knight has did community education about frog habitat, species etc. in August.

Totally Renewable Yackandandah

Institute Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Joanne Millar is a member of the Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) Committee. The committee is working on community education and facilitating high energy commercial or community users to use solar energy. In 2015 Dr Millar facilitated a CSU grant to survey local households on energy use and attitudes to renewable energy in 2015.

Picture Book

Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Pennay has produced a picture book Picturing and Re-picturing Bonegilla drawing on Bonegilla Collection at Albury Library Museum and Bonegilla Migrant Place managed by Wodonga City Council and involving post-war immigrants and their children. The project has received funding from the Department of Environment ($8000). The book was launched at the Albury Library Museum, Sept 7.

Innovations in Landscape Conservation Forum

Dr Dale Nimmo delivered the John Paul Memorial Lecture at the Innovations in Landscape Conservation Forum at CSU/GOTAFE Wangaratta, May 17, 2016. The Institute was a partner in this inaugural forum organised by North East Catchment Management Authority as a way of bringing around 90 land managers, NRM managers and researchers together. ILWS presenters included Dr Dale Nimmo and Dr Lee Baumgartner.

Happy Valley Workshop

Dr Wayne Robinson was on Fraser Island, Queensland, (11-14 April) to run a workshop for Fraser Coast volunteers and residents from Happy Valley community on the island for the Happy Valley Bush Regeneration Project.

Wild Pollinator Autumn Count

Over 200 observations were submitted for the autumn count as the interest in native pollinators continues to grow. With the help of Murray LLS and Kylie Durrant of Holbrook Landcare  some handy pocket guides "Pollinator Insects of the South West Slopes of NSW and North East Victoria" have been printed and are available via Dr Manu Saunders.  The next count will be run from 13-20 November 2016.

Creating sustainable communities

Drs Helen Masterman-Smith and John Rafferty presented "Creating Sustainable Communities" based on findings from their Our Place Project Riverina-Murray and the Learning Communities HEPPP project to the Albury Rotary Club a the North Albury Sports Club on March 22, 2016.


New Industrial Revolution

Prof Kevin Parton gave a seminar on November 24 to the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) on policy to assist the new industrial revolution. The seminar covered Australia's progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recent political history, a comparison between policy alternatives, and Australia's probable future policy.

Book Presentation

A/Prof Rosemary Black's book,Adventure Programming and Travel for the 21st Century, A/Prof Rosemary Black, & Prof Kelly. S. Bricker, (Eds.) was presented to the Victorian Minister for Education, James Merlino, by the Residential Outdoor Schools Association (ROPA) on November 5, 2015.

TRY Report

In 2015 Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) received grant funds from CSU (facilitated by ILWS member Dr Joanne Millar) to complete a research project investigating community attitudes toward a 100% renewable energy goal in Yackandandah. The report by Leah Ginnivan and Tom Stayer is available on the TRY website Twenty-six in-depth interviews were undertaken in Yackandandah in April 2015. The aim was to find out more about what different parts of the Yackandandah community thought of TRY's goals, following an online survey in December 2014. Overall, people were overwhelmingly supportive of the TRY's goals.

Wildlife Trapping Night

Drs Lee Baumgartner and Wayne Robinson ran a community wildlife trapping night with the Thurgoona Woolshed Landcare group around Corry Wood, Thurgoona, on Friday, November 13, 2015. The night attracted about 30 community members, including lots of children.

Wild Pollinator Count

The national Wild Pollinator Count (involving Dr Manu Saunders) was held November 15-22 and included live events on around the Albury region (in partnership with the Slopes 2 Summit initiative).

Learning Communities project

The final stages of the Learning Communities (2014-2015) project were implemented during October-November 2015  by Environmental Justice and Governance SRA members, Drs Helen Masterman-Smith and John Rafferty, alongside Dr Marie Sheahan and PhD candidates, Wes Ward and Jeanette Carroll. The project, funded through the Commonwealth Department of Education's Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program, involved school partnerships, community engagement and research activities focused on the theme of 'creating sustainable communities through higher education.'

Its Primary School Program  provided Years 5 and 6 students in the North East Victorian and Southern Riverina regions with the opportunity to consider the value of higher education for a sustainable future. The excursion component involved over 500 students and staff attending CSU's Albury-Wodonga campus from August to October, 2015, for activities around the theme of 'creating sustainable communities through higher education.' This was followed by a one day Youth Forum on November 13 involving over 400 participants, and the Flourish Community Festival, November 14 which attracted over 1300 community members. Outputs included a Youth Action Statement for a Sustainable Future presented to the Vice-Chancellor, Dean of Students, Head of Campus and Albury Council. The statement was tabled at an Albury City Council meeting and exhibited at the Albury City Library; and the public premieres of five short films made by student participants in the high school component of the program.

The incursion component of the project involved nearly 200 students from Years Five and Six. As a result of the High School Program over 300 high school students from Albury-Wodonga visited three universities and active community groups in Melbourne and Albury, from February to March, 2015, to investigate a range of career options while considering how their choices could make their communities and our world more sustainable. The program ran six-day social geography tours for Year 10 and 11 students. There was also a Learning Communities exhibit as part of the Sustainable Living Week partnership with Albury and Wodonga city councils.

Public Symposium

Institute Adjunct and Chair of the Institute's Advisory Board Dr John Williams was one of the speakers at a public symposium presented by the Goyder Institute, and the Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy, Australian National University on "The Basin by numbers: science, economics, community, environment," on September 30.

Life changing journey

Associate Professor Rosemary Black gave a presentation to the Albury Probus Club on September 23, 2015, called "A life changing journey in Africa" in which she talked about her research for the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) on the social and economic impacts of tourist lodges on the local community. The research project was completed during A/Prof Black's SSP leave in the later part of 2014. A comprehensive report has been submitted to the AWF which it will use to assess its conservation enterprise model, used to set up tourist lodges. The model aims to improve the quality of life of communities and promote positive local attitudes towards conservation.

Research Opportunities in the Australian Tour Guiding Industry

A/Prof Rosemary Black organised a meeting of representatives of Guiding organisations Australia, Ecotourism Australia and Savannah Guides, at the Ecotourism Australia office in Brisbane on September 15 to discuss the current challenges and issues facing the Australian tour guiding industry and to then formulate potential research projects that could assist the industry to address some of these challenges.

Celebrate Soils

As part of the 2015 United Nation's International Year of Soils, the Celebrate Soils Symposium was held at the Albury-Wodonga campus on September 2. Speakers from ILWS included A/Prof Ben Wilson.

Winton Wetlands Forum

Winton Wetlands ForumProfessor Max Finlayson, who chairs the Winton Wetlands Environmental Strategy Advisory Panel, attended the inaugural Winton Wetlands Restoration Research Forum, August 20 to 21. The forum saw a number of eminent scientists come together to focus on the ecological restoration of the wetlands. Key project stakeholders were also in attendance to get a better understanding of the ecological challenges the project faces, and to share their views and thoughts. Prof Finlayson spoke about managing and restoring wetlands of international importance; introduced a workshop session on future scenarios- ecosystem restoration goals; and summed up the ideas from speakers and the workshops at the end.

Frog Wander

Dr Skye Wassens and PhD student Amelia Walcott took a group of more than 30 people interested in frogs on a "Frog Wander" on Saturday, August 15, on a property at Wooragee in North East Victoria. The event was organised by the Wooragee Landcare Group and participants learnt about local frog species, habitat and identifying in the field.

Indigenous Connection

Dr Wayne Robinson spent a number of days in August, 2015, with the Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment Team, who are undertaking environmental research in the lower Darling Region, NSW, as part of a collaborative three year project funded by the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and La Trobe University. Dr Robinson assisted with the project's design.

Larval conference

Dr Paul Humphries was one of the organisers of the 39th Annual Larval Fish Conference held at the University of Vienna, July 12-17. After the conference, Dr Humphries can a Masters Field Course and a 'Master Class' with colleague Dr Hubert Keckeis, from the University of Vienna, and advised Masters and PhD students.

The Sea is All Around Us

Crew of Pan EdelweissFrom May 11-21 an architectural large scale compass, with a circular floor drawing marking the intersection of its latitude and longitude (37 º 49'21" S 144º 57'03"E) was the feature of  the installation 'The Sea is All around Us' by ILWS member A/Prof Margaret Woodward who created a memorable multi-layered experience for those visiting the Dome Gallery and the Mission to Seafarers in Melbourne's Docklands. The installation invited seafarers and visitors to participate in a global project which witnesses sea journeys and traces the mobile life of seafarers and souvenirs. The project was launched on Saturday 16th May by Craig Bremner, Professor of Design at Charles Sturt University. The project received many seafaring and non-seafaring visitors including members of the maritime industry, volunteers, tourists and colleagues. For more information visit the website:
Pic Crew of Pan Edelweiss with A/Prof Margaret Woodward 

Managing Paradoxes of Native Vegetation Management

On Monday evening, May 18 Samantha Strong whose PhD topic is 'Exploring paradoxes of native vegetation management in south east Australia in the early 21st century in the context of bushfire' gave a presentation to the Gooram Landcare group. The talk centred on the paradox of "controlling the uncontrollable" in relation to native vegetation management in the context of bushfire. This paradox has emerged as one of the most prevalent paradoxes in the data analysis for the research so far. There was some very positive and interested feedback and discussion following the presentation. The Gooram community had been affected by large bushfires over the past summer, so the issues were fresh in people's minds.

Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Research

A group of Faculty of Business researchers (many of whom are members of the Institute) presented a fascinating "round up" of research over the last decade into a number of climate issues at an "Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Research" seminar on Tuesday afternoon, May 5.

The public seminar, co-sponsored by the Faculty and the Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN), was held in Bathurst with video links to Albury, Wagga Wagga and Orange and attended by about 30 people including community representatives and CSU staff.

Ants on Fraser Island

Myrmecologyst Dr Wayne Robinson was on Fraser Island, Queensland, in April to run a two day workshop (April 28/29) to a community group at Happy Valley on the island. The group, volunteers and interested community members, were taking part in a Fraser Coast Regional Council (FCRC), Community Engagement Program. FCRC manage three plots of land on Fraser Island and all are fully encircled by the Greater Sandy Region World Heritage Area. Happy Valley is a small one mile square plot with about 50 dwellings including private and business landholders in permanent or seasonal residence.  The workshop looked at the role of ants in ecosystems, the importance of biodiversity, the biogeographical affinities of the ants of Fraser island and how the invasive ant species, Pheidole megacephala interacts with native ants on Fraser Island.

Fishing Classic

Associate Professor Robyn Watts (CSU), Josh Campbell and Anthony Conallin (Murray Local Land Services) attended an information booth at the Deniliquin Fishing Classic in February 2015. CSU microscopes were set up at the event giving people the opportunity to have a close up look at small larval fish and aquatic bugs. The staff also distributed a wide range of information sheets and brochures and chatted to people about the river monitoring underway in as part of the Commonwealth funded project monitoring ecosystem responses to environmental watering in the Edward-Wakool system.

Bitterns in Rice 

The Institute's Dr Wayne Robinson is a member of an on-going community research project called the "Bitterns in Rice Project". It is a collaboration that started in 2012 between the Ricegrowers' Association of Australia, Birdlife Australia and other organisations. It is being led by former CSU honours student Matt Herring. The project has received funding from Riverina Local Land Services and the team recently completed the surveys for a third rice-growing season, with 80 sites covering 2050 hectares of rice on 41 randomly selected farms.

Biggest Tree Competition

The Institute, along with the NSW Government's Environmental Trust and the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, sponsored the Slopes to Summit (S2S) Big Tree Competition which ran from February this year to the start of April.  The competition generated plenty of community interest with entries even coming beyond the S2S project area, which covers  an area north of the Murray River from Mount Kosciuszko to Corowa, and south of Henty, Holbrook and Tumbarumba. The response to the competition was very strong nation-wide as indicated by the hits on its Flickr page, which had over 14,000 views in four days after the winners were announced. The winner of the Big Paddock tree (submitted by Anne Hicks, Holbrook) was a River red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) with a girth 950cm circumference at 1.3m above ground."S2S is about increasing connectivity across the landscape for biodiversity which is strongly linked to the aims of the Institute's Biodiversity  Conservation SRA," says Dr Peter Spooner who is on the S2S Working Group and leader of the Biodiversity Conservation SRA.

Dusky Flathead in East Gippsland

Tara Hicks and flatheadAs part of the project investigating the Fecundity and egg quality of Dusky flathead in East Gippsland honours student Tara Hicks worked with the residents of Mallacoota to help with her survey to understand the link between fish size and egg quality. The local fishers donated their fish frames (what is left after the fillets are removed) which contributed to the approximate 500 fish Tara used in her analysis.  She will  give a presentation on her findings to the Mallacoota community and the Australian Society for Fish Biology later this year.

Community connections within the Blue Mountains

The major output of the project  " Community connections, older and vulnerable community members – identifying, exploring and addressing community needs within the Blue Mountains",  is the report, Community Connections: Vulnerability and Resilience in the Blue Mountains (PDF) which was launched this year on March 25, at Springwood Sports Club. The event, attended by nearly 100 people, included community members and representatives from both emergency services, Ministry of Police and Emergency Services and community services. The report was officially launched by Councillor Mick Fell on behalf of the Mayor of the Blue Mountains, Mark Greenhill. The report makes a number of recommendations, which include strategies to better connect community members and organisations in order to inform planning for vulnerable and ageing populations both in day-today life and in times of emergencies.

Science on Air

Joeseph Thompson John RaffertyFrom January 20 2015, Dr John Rafferty has been on air every fortnight on ABC Goulburn Murray Morning Radio on Tuesdays from 9.30am discussing the latest science news, particularly related to sustainability and its environmental and social impacts.

Pic Dr John Rafferty (right) with ABC Goulburn Murray's mornings presenter Joseph Thomsen.

The premise of the show "Science and Stuff" is twofold. Firstly to build levels of science literacy among the broader community; to promote thinking  scientifically. Secondly, to build genuine excite about science and highlight the omnipresence of science phenomena in our daily lives.

Topics covered include

* How are fire ratings established?

* What is UV light and how does "sun block" work?

* Evaporative cooling how does it work?

* What is thunder and lightning?

* How does hail form?

These topics and questions provide a platform to explore science phenomena in plain English within common experiences. The discussion in the program also extends to current scientific news and events (that is what ever is in the newspapers).

Getting out into the Community

Recent  examples of community engagement from two of our postgraduate students include the work of Amelia Walcott who is producing regular fact sheets for landholders involved in her frog research project in the Lachlan region and Vijayakumar Kuttappan, who is a board member of the Albury-Wodonga ethnic communities Council inc.  Check out the Council's latest Summer newsletter ethnicvoice .


Wild Pollinator Count

Blue banded beeDr Manu Saunders ran a trial for a new community-based pollinator awareness project in November 2014 with the help of Karen Retra, a local naturalist and native bee fan. Similar pollinator counts are becoming popular overseas, such as the UK's Big Butterfly Count and the Great Sunflower Project in the US.  More information can be found at

Climate Change and the Community Forum

Climate change was certainly on the agenda in Albury on Tuesday, August 19. (Read the full story)

First there was the Climate Change and the Community forum held in the morning at the Albury Entertainment Centre which organised by the Murray Darling Association with the support of the Institute, Albury City Council, the Regional Centre of Expertise Murray-Darling and  the Australian National University.

The event was attended by more than 120 people made up of the local Member for Albury, Hon Greg Aplin; Mayors, Cr Kevin Mack from Albury, and Cr Paul Maytom from Leeton; councillors and staff from Indigo Shire, Rural City of Wangaratta, City of Wodonga, Albury City Council and the Alpine Shire; government department staff; representatives from the Murray Darling Association; CSU students and staff; community members; and staff and senior secondary school students from Albury High and Victory Lutheran College.

The second event held on the Tuesday was a "Living with Australia's climate: A community conversation on climate, weather, fire & water" also held at the Albury Entertainment Centre. This was an Australian National University event with climatologist Professor Janette Lindesday from the Fenner School of Environment and Society, and Dr Philip Gibbons, a bushfire expert also from the Fenner School. Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson was the moderator for the event which drew a crowd of more than 70 people.  Pic Prof Janette Lindesay, Dr Phil Gibbons, (from ANU) Albury City Mayor Cr Kevin Mack and Max

Our Place - Riverina and Murray

The launch of the Our Place - Riverina and Murray project and showcase of the projects' achievements so far on Monday, August 18 at the Albury-Wodonga campus was well attended.

More than 55 people were present including community members from Holbrook and Albury, a large contingent from the Albury Wodonga Community College and Albury's Bhutanese community, Office of Environment and Heritage and Albury City Council staff, and CSU's Albury Head of Campus Professor Julia Coyle who gave the official welcome.

South-West Regional Manager for the NSW office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), Mr Graeme Enders launched the project which aims to assist communities to protect their local natural environment and to live more sustainably.

He said the Our Place project provided a program, in partnership with Charles Sturt University, to go to local towns and communities, get people together, and discuss what is important to individuals and the community, what are the issues that are being faced, and how OEH and/or the University could be of assistance in shaping a response. Read more

Holbrook Landcare

Two Institute members – A/Prof David Watson, and PhD candidate Alexander Knight - were involved in the Holbrook Landcare Network's "Wildlife in our landscape – are we making a difference?" event held on Wednesday, June 18 in Holbrook, with David the MC of the event, and Alex presenting on Frogs on Farms.

The "real scientist"

A/Prof David Watson gave a presentation on mistletoe in grassy box woodlands to an Australian Plants Society meeting in Albury, Saturday, March 29; on bird-mistletoe interactions to the Southern Highlands Group of Birds Australia at Mittagong, Tuesday, April 8, and on parasitic plants as facilitators to the Australian Native Plants Society, Thursday April 10 in Canberra.

For the week April 20-26, while out in the field in western NSW, Dave was the "real scientist" for the @realscientists twitter account which has a different scientist taking the reins each week. Eleven to 12,000 people follow this world wide and Dave tweeted on a range of topics including day-to-day experiences out in the field, grant-writing, work-life balance and, of course, mistletoes, bird ecology and arid zone flora and fauna giving followers a "window" into his life.

An interesting outcome of Dave's tweeting about his research while out in the field was feedback from Bindi Vanzella, the Business Development Co-ordinator for Greening Australia Capital Region, who  sent a copy of a tweet conversation she had with Dave regarding management tips for lone trees with lots of mistletoe to colleagues and landholders.

His tips - which are to fence off; plant nectar rich understorey shrubs; and install nesting boxes for birds and brush tailed possums - were passed directly to implementation staff and are already informing on-ground actions in the ACT.

Pak Peung wetland in Laos

Dr Joanne Millar gave a talk to three landcare groups – the Yea Wetland Group, Upper Goulburn Landcare Network, and Strath Creek Landcare Group on Saturday, February 22 about the project on Pak Peung wetland in Laos.


Bio Blitz

A/Prof David Watson was among a group of ecologists from the Institute (others were Dr Alison Matthews, Lisa Smallbone and Alex Knight) who took part in a BioBlitz hosted by a local conservation partnership, Slopes to Summit (S2S) on the weekend September 6 to 9.  The weekend saw around 300 people searching for wildlife in National Parks, farms and road reserves around Woomargama in southern NSW as part of a BioBlitz.  Lead by expert ecologists, the small army of local school children, farmers, amateur naturalists and other folk helped search for native birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs, fish, and plants. The records will be uploaded on to the Atlas of Living Australia to help add to our existing knowledge of the area's biodiversity. The event coincided with National Threatened Species Day, fitting recognition given that many native species in Woomargama are considered at risk of extinction, including the iconic Squirrel Glider. The free community event was organised by the Slopes to Summit (S2S) partnership of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, one of the nation's largest conservation projects stretching 3,600km from the Grampians in Victoria to the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.

Photo Esther Beaton, September 2013

Birds and the Bees

To coincide with National Wattle Day on September 1, A/Prof Dave Watson was one of the speakers at a "The Birds and the Bees" day held at the Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre. Dave spoke about native birds in the garden and what you can do to look after them.

Presentation in Canberra

A/Prof Dave Watson gave a one hour seminar synthesizing his research on mistletoe / bird ecology to the Canberra Ornithologists Group on August 14. Pdf of slides

Dr Dave's videos

The latest batch of the Dr Dave videos are also now live. This time round A/Prof Dave Watson talks about feral goats, wedgetail eagles, emus, yabbies....Check them all out at

Local Landcare Conference

Professor Allan Curtis presented the keynote speech to about 70 people gathered in Albury on Friday 10 May 2013 for the local Landcare Conference.

Wonga Wetlands hosts Easter School

Dr Alison Matthews and ILWS PhD students Lisa Smallbone and Alex Knight were once again involved in the Rotary Murray Darling School of Freshwater Research Easter School at Wonga Wetlands. Their involvement included setting harp traps, catching 16 bats, and running a spotlighting activity one evening.

Doing well by doing good

Institute adjuncts Prof John Mullen and Ms Cathy McGowan (who is also an ILWS Advisory Board member) were appointed to a national task force "Doing well by doing good" in March this year.
The task force on aid for food security has been established by The Crawford Fund. More details at

Frogmore Healthy Dams Workshop

ILWS PhD student Carmen Amos was one of four presenters at a healthy dams workshop for landholders organised by the Hovells Creek Landcare group in collaboration with the Boroowa Community Landcare group on March 16. Carmen's presentation was on frogs in the Lachlan Catchment, what environment frogs require and how you can promote them in your dam. "It was a wonderful day and it was great to see so much enthusiasm and interest in not only how to keep your dam healthy for livestock but making it a more desirable place for native fauna," says Carmen. The day was also interactive with workshops on how best to construct and manage your farm dam and how to identify local frogs. It was held on Byron Corcoran's property 'Forest Home', Frogmore.

Benalla Australia Day Celebrations

Institute Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Pennay, OAM was invited to speak at the Benalla Australia Day celebrations, on January 26, 2013. He gave a presentation on Migrant Heritage.


Winton Wetlands

Professor Max Finlayson attended a meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group for the Winton Wetlands Restoration Project in Benalla on Dec 14.

Snow Gums to River Reds

The Slopes2Summit partnership, part of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, hosted the premiere on November 26 of the "Snow Gums to Red Gums" film, produced by Mosquito Productions for a project funded by the Bjarne K Dahl Trust, Caring for our Country and the NSW Environmental Trust. Over 100 people turned out to the CD Blake Theatre at Charles Sturt University to see some local people from Tumbarumba to Howlong talking about their relationship with Eucalypts. After the screening, the partnership also launched the "Bushlinks" project – a farm revegetation program focussing on connectivity for wildlife that is being managed by the Holbrook Landcare Network on behalf of the Slopes2Summit and the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, in partnership with Murray CMA. The film was hosted by co-writer/producer A/Prof Dave Watson.

Photo A/Prof Dave Watson introducing the film

The Slopes to Summit Partnership is part of the Great Eastern Ranges initiative working together to progress biodiversity conservation in the eastern Murray .

Pictured from left Helen Waudby and Alison Skinner for Murray CMA, Sam Neidra (S2S facilitator) and Nigel Jones from the Nature Conservation Trust, Dr Dave Watson from ILWS,  Dr Damien Michael from  ANU, Dr Peter Spooner from ILWS and Kylie Durant and Chris Cumming from Holbrook Landcare Network

Mistletoe myths busted at Mullengandra

A/Prof Dave Watson's presentation on the role of mistletoe and wildlife on farms to about 35 farmers and community members at the Mullengandra family field day on September 21 led to several participants keen to change their gardens and defendable spaces. Find out more in another great PlaceStories story.

Farm Ownership Turnover

is predicted to be around 50% in the next decade. Dr Emily Mendham was interviewed by the ABC Riverina Rural report on Sept 3 as a result of her involvement in the North East CMA the expert panel event on 30 July. The ILWS study undertaken last year by Dr Mendham and Social researcher Prof Allan Curtis assessed the impacts of changing land ownership in rural areas.

Winton Wetlands STAG meeting

Professor Max Finlayson attended the August 20 Scientific and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) meeting for the development of the the Winton Wetlands Restoration and Monitoring Strategic Plan.

German research draws a crowd in Deniliquin

More than 30 people took part in the Deniliquin Council and Charles Sturt University public lecture presented by ILWS Professor Dirk Spennemann on August 15. The lecture, titled 'Echoes of the past: Tracing the German experience', explored the German farmers who began to settle in this region in the 1860s, their farming practices and their architectural methods.

Water Reform and Climate Change Can we do more with less?

A discussion on Water Reform and Climate Change in Australia was held over 18 - 19 August 2012 at the CSIRO Discovery Centre, Canberra with ILWS Professor Allan Curtis speaking in Session 2: Murray-Darling Basin - What to do with the water? Water reform, climate change and farming in the Basin: some different perspectives.

Gippsland Lakes Community Forum

On April 17 Professor Max Finlyason and Professor David Mitchell attended the forum in Bairnsdale where Max gave a presentation on Ramsar requirements and wetland management.