The second annual North East Environment Forum was held May 25 at CSU's Wangaratta study centre. Once again ILWS teamed with partners – North East Catchment Management Authority, Trust for Nature, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Parks Victoria – to present a successful forum with 76 attendees.
This year's forum theme was "Connecting People with Nature" with the John Paul Memorial Lecture given by Associate Professor Mardie Townsend from Deakin University on "Healthy Environment for Healthy Victorians." During her talk A/Prof Townsend made reference to the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (2015-2019) and the research her team has done for the Victorian Government since 2000 with their report Healthy Parks, Healthy People: the state of evidence 2015.
Photo by Simon Dallinger, From Left Peter Brenton, Mark Norman, Max Finlayson, Mardie Townsend, Uncle Leon, Glen Johnson.
Presentations were then made on 'Perspective on Volunteering' (by Bush Heritage Australia volunteers Michael and Kerry Moylan, DELWP Senior Biodiversity Officer Glen Johnson and volunteer Mick Webster); 'Marketing Natural Resource Management (by Dr Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist, Parks Victoria and Area of Work Coordinator –Parks Victoria Keith Primrose ) and on 'Citizen Science' (by Peter Brenton, Atlas of Living Australia).
Prof Ken Irvine from UNESCO-IHE, The Netherlands, and Prof Doug Shaw from The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota, USA were among the international visitors in Albury Feb 7-9 to discuss Myanmar project partnership opportunities. The meeting, hosted by ILWS, brought together experts with specialties in economic development, fisheries, sediment, river flow, wetlands, sustainable development, to consider opportunities for Basin scale planning for Myanmar. The team from CSU/UNESCO/TNC spent three days in detailed discussions regarding potential research priorities on water and land development issues in Myanmar. They settled on four thematic areas for further development and are planning to visit Myanmar later this year to continue discussions with in-country stakeholders. The meeting was extremely productive and has set the scene for future international collaboration.
Dr Ken Irvine said "Myanmar is facing many challenges following thirty years of isolation with hardly any capacity development over that period. It still has a lot of pristine environment, intact catchments and forests. The development can go very fast. Already there is quite a lot of illegal logging and there are huge commercial interests by global actors pressing to work with Myanmar. The opportunities and risks are now. We are meeting to discuss how we might bring together our expertise and develop project ideas to assist the current development challenges/ needs of Myanmar."
The North East Catchment Management Authority's "Innovation in Landscape Conservation" environment forum held on Tuesday, May 17 at CSU's Wangaratta Study Centre certainly "hit the mark." Around 80 landholders, NRM agency representatives, landcare group members and others with an interest in the environment, attended the all day event which included the John Paul Memorial Lecture (given by the Institute's Dr Dale Nimmo), the launch of the North East Conservation Fund, the experiences of the Mount Elephant Community Management Inc., and an interesting talk on conservation funding by Gerard O'Neill, CEO Bush Heritage. The afternoon sessions on deer management and fish ecology (with the Institute's Dr Lee Baumgartner) were equally interesting. The event (with partners the Institute, Trust for Nature, and DEWLP) is planned to become an annual one.
Photo `from left Ben Fahey (Parks Vic), Neil McCarthy (NECMA), Sue Campbell
Panel discussion on Fish ecology from left Glen Johnson (DEWLP), Matt Barwick (NSW DPI) and Lee Baumgartner
This conference was part of the ACIAR "Quantifying improved fisheries productivity at fish passage rehabilitation sites in Lao PDR" project.
Over 160 local and international delegates attended the conference which was hosted by one of the project's partners, the Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre, in Vientiane, Lao PDR, November 14-17.
Project leader Dr Lee Baumgartner, who was on the conference's organising committee, said the conference brought together global experts in the field of riverine development, fish passage and aquatic ecosystem management and demonstrated how applied research could be used to enhance policy and decision-making across the Lower Mekong Basin. Lee gave a presentation on "From research to uptake: Expanding a fishway construction program in Lao PDR." Also at the conference was the Institute's Dr Wayne Robinson, and Visiting Academic Professor Luiz Silva from the Federal University of Sao Joao del-Rei in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
A workshop, organised by the Institute in collaboration with Murray Local Land Services, for a new Biocultural Knowledge Project was a great opportunity for those with an interest in the biocultural values of wetlands and rivers to get together, listen to some presentations, share knowledge and network. Twenty four people representing CSU and the Institute, Murray Local Land Services, 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 held at Wonga Wetlands, Albury, on Tuesday, December 6.
Samantha Strong, ILWS, also presented her Draft Research Inventory on "Biocultural knowledge of aquatic resources in the Murray River region" which participants were invited to add to. The Inventory was the focus of the afternoon's discussion.
ILWS held its annual book launch on Thursday, 29 October 2015 at The Gums, Albury-Wodonga Campus from 10.30 to 12 noon.
This year the launch celebrated the publication of seven books:
"Wetlands and Human Health" Edited by Prof Max Finlayson, Prof Pierre Horwitz, Prof Philip Weinstein
"Adventure Programming and Travel for the 21st Century", A/Prof Rosemary Black, & Prof Kelly. S. Bricker, (Eds.)
"Tour Guiding Research: Insights, Issues and Implications", Prof Betty Weiler & A/Prof Rosemary Black
"Reflective Social Work Practice : Thinking, Doing and Being", Prof Manohar Pawar and Dr Bill Anscombe
"Handbook on Trade and Development", Prof Oliver Morrissey, A/Prof Ricardo A. López, Prof Kishor Sharma
"Benalla Migrant Camp : A difficult heritage", A/Prof Bruce Pennay
"Public Relations Ethics and Professionalism: The Shadow of Excellence", Dr Johanna Fawkes
With 35 people attending the authors were invited to answer the following question:
What makes a very busy researcher decide to add more to their already full plate and write a book? Certainly it can't be the dreams of being able to retire on the royalties of best sellers like JK Rowling so why do they do it? To read their answers see the ILWS Blog
The Institute was well-represented at the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) conference hosted by CSU at its Bathurst campus Tuesday October 20 to Thursday October 22.
From Left Prof Max Finlayson, Ms Kater Charters, SEGRA conference organiser, Prof Eddie Oczkowski and Prof Kishor Sharma. Photo Bruce Andrews
Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, as a member of the conference's program committee, was involved in the planning for the conference which attracted more than 200 participants from around Australia.
ILWS involvement in the conference included :
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Andy Vann, welcomed delegates and provided a very clear message about leadership and the role of universities in our regional communities.
The Institute and CSUs Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) held a "Water and Justice Mini-workshop" on Friday, March 13 in Canberra.
The workshop's eight participants, including researchers from ANU, will discuss future research collaborations after a morning session with Dr Adrian Walsh from the University of New England speaking on "Water as an idiosyncratic Distributive Good."
The official launch of the Institute's two major environmental water monitoring projects funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) was held on Wednesday, February 18 at the Albury-Wodonga campus.
(pic taken by David Thorpe, Border Mail. From Left Dr Skye Wassens, Mr Ben Docker, from CEWO, Professor Andrew Vann, A/Prof Robyn Watts)
After a Welcome to Country by Yalmambirra, presentations were made by CSU's Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann, Mr Ben Docker, from CEWO, and the leaders of the two five year projects - Associate Professor Robyn Watts, for the Long-Term Intervention Monitoring Project in the Edward-Wakool River System, and Dr Skye Wassens, for the Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project in the Murrumbidgee River System.
Professor Vann said the projects "ticked all the boxes" in terms of what research he would like the University to be delivering.
"These projects in particular are great examples of projects that are collaborative across universities, with government, with industry and with communities...they're absolutely focussed on real, practical and tangible outcomes for the environment and the community and are great from every perspective. They're 'poster children' of where I'd like research at CSU to be at."
Forty-four people including research team members, the Executive Dean of CSUs Faculty of Science, Professor Tim Wess, ILWS members and representatives from partner agencies including Dr Bob Creese, Director of Fisheries Research, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Mr Gary Rodda, General Manager of Murray Local Land Services, attended the launch.
Twenty eight representatives from regional councils and businesses, rail interest groups, transport consultants and regional transport committee members attended an afternoon symposium on Wednesday 17 September at the Albury-Wodonga CSU campus. The presentations by Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray and Reid Mather, from the Victorian Alliance of Councils for Rail Freight were followed by a lively discussion with questions from the audience. Presentations by Reid Mather Rail Freight PDF and A/Prof Ian Gray Regionalisation of Rail Freight PDF
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 Lindsay 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
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 certainly 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
Our Place Regional Community Survey Presentation - Dr Helen Masterman-Smith (PDF)
The booklet, Trust: A Planning Guide for Wildfire Agencies & Practitioners, was launched by Professor Bruce Shindler from Oregon State University, USA, on Thursday, May 1, at the Wodonga Fire Station
Around 20 people representing the Country Fire Association (CFA), NSW Rural Fire Services, the State Emergency Services, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, North East CMA, the Victorian Government's Integrated Fire Management Planning and ILWS attended the launch at the Wodonga Fire Station on Thursday May 1 over a morning tea.
More than 30 people attended the launch of a new book Rural lifestyles, Community Well-being and Social Change: Lessons from Country Australia for Global Citizens at a morning tea held on the Wagga campus on Friday, March 7.The book, edited by Dr Angela Ragusa and published by Bentham Science, was launched by the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.
Pic from L to R. David Gilbey, Dr Angela Ragusa and Prof Andrew Vann at the launch
Prof Vann also wrote the book's Foreword which tells of his personal experience when he moved from the U.K. to regional Australia. "In regional Australia I have found people matter, individuals matter and there is a much greater opportunity for a sense of genuine contribution to community and to feel you have made a real difference," Professor Vann said.
"Regional Australia is critical to the health and wealth of the whole nation and we need to ensure that rural and regional communities are involved in setting policy and determining solutions that affect their future."
The book includes chapters from a number of ILWS members including Dr Robert Tierney, Professor Kevin Parton, Dr Susan Mlcek, Dr Angela Ragusa and Dr Andrea Crampton on topics such as social and economic change in rural communities, mental health nursing, human services delivery in remote and rural communities, and water and knowledge of health risks.
"What it means to live in rural Australia today is different to what it was, say 50 years ago. It's different because of technology; it's different because of policy changes and governance in terms of how local communities and development are planned, or not; how is transport and infrastructure allocated and with what consequence; how does federal government's discretionary spending flow downstream to communities to be able to offer services, i.e. beds in hospitals, acute care facilities; money to higher education and institutions, transportation, roads etc ....all your key main areas. Meanwhile, some things reveal similar trends over time. For example, rural communities still need to deal with cyclical drought. But other things are different because of what humans have done and the decisions that have been made," - Dr Angela Ragusa.
The book deals with issues contemporary country Australians face and have to deal with every day. "These are the new things that have made us have a rethink on how we use our limited resources, how we get people to work together and with what effect," said Dr Ragusa. "It hasn't all been a push from urban Australia, but much impetus has come from there. In some, sense it's a response to an urban push, and not one that has always been thought out."
An example of one recent urban 'push' is the decision to relocate some refugees from inner city environments to regional Australia "so they could thrive." "Decentralisation, as a strategy to move people out of the metropolitan areas, can be a positive policy," said Dr Ragusa. "But, if they are pushing people (such as doctors, health care professionals and educators) into rural communities that don't have the infrastructure needed, such as transport to help healthcare professionals see their clients, employment opportunities, equipment in hospitals to provide treatment or services to assist refugees to feel comfortable, and negotiate cultural differences between rural Australia and, say Africa, then these are challenges that really start at a policy level, but trickle down to rural communities who are being asked to deal with them. They might be the brainchild of someone in Canberra or Sydney, but how do rural communities cope and deal with the day-to-day reality? These day-to-day realities have stories that need to be told."
The book includes a chapter, written by Dr Oliver Burmeister from the School of Computing and Mathematics, on how introducing new technologies to rural and regional seniors may improve their well being. "A lot of seniors in rural areas experience social isolation, so, if we introduce technologies, then this may be a resource we can provide that might help them get connected back to their families, into new interests and hobbies, particularly in Aged Care facilities," said Dr Ragusa. "Through Oliver's research, decision-makers may use evidence to consider adopting resources that might not be very costly, but may have a really big impact on improving rural seniors' lives."
Another chapter in the book, written by ILWS member Dr Andrea Crampton, looked at drinking water, a natural resource, and asked the question "Is it the same in the country versus the city?" "In reality, although the legislation and the policy might look the same in practice it is tested at half the frequency," said Dr Ragusa.
This workshop, which involved the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Institute and the Self-Sustaining Regions Research & Innovation Initiative CRN based at Ballarat University, was held in Queenscliff, Victoria, November 5 to 8.
This workshop brought key paleoecological researchers together with limnologists and ecologists to explore means of better understanding the nature of change and variability in key Ramsar wetlands across the globe.
The meeting included members of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) with a view to encouraging ecological character assessment processes to better utilise and take into account the palaeoecological record.
Over 40 people joined Dr Paul Humphries, co-editor, Dr Nicole McCasker and Dr Rick Stoffels (CSIRO/MDFRC) co-authors of "Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes" on Wednesday 18 September for the launch of the book. They discussed some of the more remarkable features of the freshwater fishes of Australia before the book's launch by Dr Anthony (Rex) Conallin from the Murray CMA.
From left : Dr Nicole McCasker, Dr Anthony (Rex) Conalli, Dr Paul Humphries ( and Dr Rick Stoffels (CSIRO/MDFRC)
Food security is an issue of critical significance to Australia's future. In the lead up to the 2013 Federal election ILWS held a highly successful event on Wednesday, August 14 at the CD Blake , Thurgoona, which provided an opportunity for the public to hear the views on this important issue from three CSU academics and candidates standing for election in the Seats of Farrer and Indi.
More than 130 people representing a wide cross-section of the community including local and state government, community health, Catchment Management Authorities, tertiary institutions, the ILWS advisory board, farming and the business sectors attend the event to hear Hon. Sussan Ley. Federal member for Farrer; Mr Gavin Hickey, Country Labor Party candidate for Farrer; Ms Jenny O'Connor, the Australian Greens candidate for Indi; and Ms Cathy McGowan, an Independent candidate for Indi.
The three CSU academics who addressed different perspectives of the issues were : Professor Deidre Lemerle, Director of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation who spoke on production aspects; Associate Professor Susan McAlpin from CSUs School of Dentistry and Health Sciences who spoke on health aspects; and Professor Allan Curtis, Professor of Integrated Environmental Management with ILWS who spoke on environmental/social aspects of the issue.
To hear the podcasts of their presentations go to the CSU News site.
Final report on outcomes from the Debate PDF
Mr Ed Zsombor, a Canadian rail expert spoke to 105 people attending a seminar in Blayney on Friday 10 May about the potential for the redevelopment of freight railways in regional areas and how interstate and overseas railways have been revived for national and local benefit.
The Regional Rail Revival seminar at the Blayney Community Centre was hosted by Charles Sturt University (CSU), Blayney Shire Council and Lachlan Regional Transport Committee, with the support of Cowra, Harden, Weddin, and Young Shire Councils. Speakers include Mr Ed Zsombor, Director of Rail Services, Province of Saskatchewan, Canada; Mr Bryan Nye, CEO Australasian Railway Association; Mr Frank Lander, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Transport Victoria; and adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray, ILWS. For audio files and PDF's of presentations Read more
A two-day workshop to discuss what information Australia needs to meet its international obligations for its inland and coastal wetlands covered by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has been hailed has "very forward-looking and very interesting" according to international wetland expert Prof Nick Davidson.
The workshop, hosted in by the Institute, in associated with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and the Society of Wetland Scientists (Oceania chapter) was held at the Arthur Rylah Institute in Melbourne April 16-17.
Photo from left:Prof Max Finlayson Hugh Roberston (Department of Conservation, New Zealand), Paula Warren (Department of Conservation, New Zealand), Kerry Bodmin (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand) and Marc Schallenberg (University of Otago, New Zealand, Photographer Di Crowley)
The 25 participants included researchers, policy makers and wetland managers from each of Australia's state government agencies, the Federal government, New Zealand, and representatives from the Murray-Darling Basin Association and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
The meeting was convened by Institute Director Prof Max Finlayson and Prof Davidson, Deputy Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and Institute adjunct, was a key-note speaker.
Photo from left: Dr Jamie Pittock, Prof Max Finlayson, Dr Dave Rissik, Prof Nick Davidson (Photographer Di Crowther, from the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries)
Australia is a founding Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention and over the past 40 years has designated a national network of 65 Wetlands of International Importance, or Ramsar Sites, covering over eight million hectares. Prof Davidson said there were a number of issues which came out of the workshop, one of which has been known for many years, and that is the need for good base-line wetland inventory.
"This would provide us with a basis to work out how to handle the problems that wetlands face which include the effects of an increasingly rapidly changing climate," said Prof Davidson. "If you don't know where the wetlands are it is difficult to work out how to deal with managing them most effectively."
Photo: Participants at workshop include Dr Jamie Pittock (ANU), Marc Schallenberg (University of Otago, New Zealand, Kerry Bodmin (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand)
The full interview with Prof Davidson will appear in May 2013 Connections magazine
Prof Max Finlayson was interviewed on ABC Rural on Friday April 26 about Kakadu and other wetlands and the need to protect them.
Thirty seven ILWS members and guests attended a special morning tea on Tuesday December 4 to congratulate Associate Prof Rosemary Black on the release of the book Sustainable Tourism & The Millennium Development Goals: Effecting Positive Change; Dr Black is co-editor of the book which was launched in the U.S. at the global sustainable tourism conference in September.
Photo from left Patrick Cobbinah, Associate Prof Rosemary Black and Prof Max Finlayson
Rosemary described her time as an adventure travel guide working in Nepal 20 years ago as the foundation to her career working at the University lecturing in Ecotourism. During her guiding years she worked with co-editor Dr. Kelly Bricker who was also a guide at that time, and embraced the opportunity to collaborate on the book when they worked together at the University of Utah when Rosemary was on study leave. "There are many ways sustainable tourism can make a big difference to local communities" said Rosemary,"choosing locally owned accommodation options, hiring local guides, being just a few". In describing some of the case studies in the book Rosemary said "There are some great success stories, including the 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Company, a tour guide company in Nepal, run by 3 sisters who operate trekking tours for women and their business supports the empowerment of local women by giving them tourism and business skills as well as increasing their confidence and economic independence."
Nearly fifty people, including representatives from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) and various partner agencies, attended a special morning tea and presentation held on Tuesday, November 20 to celebrate the continued success of two exciting projects in the Murray-Darling Basin for the Institute's Sustainable Water Strategic Research Area.
Both projects are funded by CEWO and will monitor and assess the ecological responses to environmental watering in the Edward-Wakool and Murrumbidgee river systems during the 2012-2013 water year.
Partners in the Edward-Wakool project, led by A/Prof Robyn Watts are the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Murray Catchment Management Authority, Monash University, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Wakool River Association.
Partners in the Murrumbidgee project, led by Dr Skye Wassens, are the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the University of NSW.
Both A/Prof Watts and Dr Wassens gave presentations on previous work done in the two river systems and on the current monitoring projects.
As well as the projects in the Edward-Wakool and the Murrumbidgee, CEWO is also funding similar monitoring projects in the Goulburn-Broken river system and Lower Murray.
A lunchtime presentation by visitor to ILWS, Dr Phousavanh Phouvin, a researcher from the National University of Lao, to about 20 people on Thursday 15 November at the Albury-Wodonga Campus included a broad overview of the challenges faced by fish in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Dr Phouvin, who has been based at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre for the past three months, spoke on his research into aspects of hydro plant design that cause fish injuries and mortality.
Dr Phouvin's work is closely linked with a current collaborative project between ILWS and Narrandera Fisheries Centre. After his presentation, Dr Phouvin was presented with a Crawford Fund Fellowship Award for early to mid-career researchers by the Crawford Fund's Chief Executive, Dr Denis Blight, AO. Dr Blight said Dr Phouvin was the first researcher in the fisheries science field to receive the award. "I am struck by the similarity of issues faced by Laos and the Murray Darling Basin, and hence the potential for cooperation and collaborative research," he said.
was presented by Neil Ward from the MDBA Presentation entitled 'Filling the Gap'
Neil spoke about about some of the current challenges and successes in Indigenous engagement in the Murray-Darling Basin and his view of how we can help 'close the gap' with Indigenous Australians. His presentation provided insights into how Indigenous people are having their views heard in the current Basin Planning process and what influences they have had on the Basin Plan.
A symposium called "Environmental Justice and Governance: Strategies for building environmentally sustainable and socially just communities" was held in Wagga Wagga, November 8 to launch the Institute's new Environmental Justice and Governance for Change Strategic Research Area.
The new SRA has evolved from the former Innovative Perspectives on Energy and Climate Change SRA.
The symposium, which was attended by 22 people, featured guest speaker Prof Stewart Lockie, a preeminent rural social scientist from the Australian National University who heads its School of Sociology.
Photo from left : Dr Helen Mastermann-Smith,
Professor Stewart Lockie and A/Professor Vaughan Higgins
Stewart (who did his undergraduate studies at CSU)spoke on a number of topics designed to stimulate ideas/discussions related to some of the issues around environmental justice and governance. They included how rural and farming communities are now much more impacted upon by globalization compared to 20 years ago; global megatrends that will change the way we live; resource use and economic growth; Australians' views on climate change; the Anthropocene (a geologic term used to describe the impact of human activities on the Earth's ecosystems); and how people pull together in natural disasters and how that behaviour changes with technological or drawn-out disasters.
The key note address was followed by two panel discussions on
1. Strategies for building environmentally sustainable and socially just communities: political and equity dimensions
2. Strategies for building environmentally sustainable and socially just communities: cultural and knowledge dimensions
Dr Paul Humphries presented " Making the dead speak: how historical ecology can aid freshwater conservation and management." to 45 people on Thursday November 1.
Although it goes without saying that knowledge of ecological condition, patterns and processes is essential for effective conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems, this knowledge is difficult to acquire or at least difficult to acquire at relevant time scales. This is because: (a) most ecological studies are carried out over periods far too short to get a good understanding of the dynamics of communities, assemblages, species, populations or even individuals, let alone how these interact with environmental conditions; (b) the environment is in its current state because of everything that has come before, and influences or disturbances may not be obvious or have disappeared; we are, in effect, seeing the ghost of disturbances past; (c) we are often unwittingly seduced into thinking that the environmental conditions which prevailed when we were young or at the start of our careers are some kind of baseline towards which we should be heading; and (d) the past is all we have to predict the future, so without an appreciation of past conditions and relationships, we may make bad conservation and management decisions.
This seminar argued for the use of historical ecology in aiding conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems. Paul's talk presented some ideas, approaches and research, mostly relating to fish in lowland rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Dr Paul Humphries with research
assistant Tamsin Greenwood
Food Security in Australia: Challenges and Prospects for the Future one day forum was attended by over 50 people on Tuesday October 30 at the Albury-Wodonga Campus of CSU. The events of the day included the launch of the book "Food Security in Australia: Challenges and Prospects for the Future edited by Quentin Farmar-Bowers, of Deakin University and ILWS researchers Dr Joanne Millar and A/Prof Vaughan Higgins. The key note address was delivered by Cathy McGowan AO, well known rural consultant in agriculture and rural development and a live broadcast by the ABC country hour with Libby Price. The presentations were given by guest speakers from CSIRO, University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania, Charles Sturt University and the Albury Wodonga Regional Food Security Network.
The talks were well received with many questions and a lively discussion took place after lunch on two key topics 1) education and engagement in food literacy, and strategies for using the political agenda on food security to promote further research and action.
Free Preview of the eBook version link found here: http://www.springer.com/food+science/book/978-1-4614-4483-1.
Dr Emma Rush, Charles Sturt University: The Ethics of Food Security [PDF]
Dr Graham Turner, CSIRO: Australian Food Security Dilemmas – Comparing Nutritious Production Scenarios and their Environmental, Resource and Economic Tensions [PDF]
Dr Nicole Cook, University of Melbourne: By Accident or Design? Peri-Urban Planning and the Protection of Productive Land on the Urban Fringe [PDF]
Jane Roots, Charles Sturt University: Farming in Rural Amenity Landscapes – Maintaining Food Productivity in a Changing Environment. [PDF]
Robyn Krabbe, University of Tasmania: Community Supported Agriculture and Agri-Food Networks: Growing Food, Community and Sustainability? [PDF]
Kylie Gillison, Gateway Community Health: Local Solutions- The Albury Wodonga Regional Food Security Network [PDF]
To purchase the book go to Springer
The seventh in the Murray-Darling Seminar Series, held on Thursday, October 24 at CSU's Albury-Wodonga campus, drew a crowd of around 30 people including a good contingent from the Murray CMA's Deniliquin office, who were in town for a training program.
The seminar was presented by the Murray CMA's Anthony (Rex) Conallin, Catchment officer-Water, who gave an interesting and thought-provoking presentation based on a case study for his PhD research which examined the invasion and spawning risk posed by common carp during an environmental water allocation from the Murray River to the Banrock Wetland in SA in 2008.
From his research Rex said there may be some scope to vary the timing of watering to benefit native fish and hinder the invasion and spawning of adult carp. However the benefits of this approach were likely to be short-lived without additional management interventions such as wetland drying.
"Another difficulty with this approach is that the effects of altering Environmental Water Allocations timing on wetland ecosystems are limited," he said.
"Managers favour delivery during the natural flooding period (August to November) but this overlaps with peaks in carp movement and spawning." Presentation slides PDF
The first of the seminars to be presented at Charles Sturt University as part of the Murray Darling Seminar Series was very well supported with 40 people attending the seminar given by Institute Director Prof Max Finlayson, on Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Max's presentation, on 'Climate Change Adaptation for the Murray River' covered a number of areas including how climate change is expected to impact on wetlands along the Murray River; our different responses as we adapt to those impacts (adaptation includes the allocation of environmental water as well as various environmental works and measures designed to spread water across the wetlands, and allow it to drain, and fish to migrate); and a case study on the Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert at the mouth of the Murray to illustrate some of the quandaries faced.
Max emphasised that local communities and local Catchment Management Authorities needed to be more involved in management decisions as they do understand the 'big picture' issues. "Local communities need to be informed, engaged and resourced so they can contribute to the necessary management decisions," says Max. "Other countries are better at doing this than Australia. We do the science well but on many occasions miss out at the community level."
After the presentation, people had the opportunity to network and chat while they enjoyed a glass of CSU wine, beer/apple juice from Beechworth with breads and cheeses from Milawa and dips from the King Valley.
With so many of our new PhDs on the Albury campus coming from overseas this year, we decided to welcome them (and our new Aussie PhDs) and their supervisors with an Aussie morning tea with traditional favourites such as vegemite sandwiches, Pavlova, lamingtons, Anzac biscuits, and damper! Institute director not only welcomed the new students to the Institute in a suitably decorated School of Environmental Science tearoom but also provided the entertainment when he spun the billy so the students could have a cup of Aussie bush tea. The 11 new students at the morning tea were Paul Amoeteng, from Ghana, Chaka Chirozva from Zimbabwe, Theresa Groth and Joey Walters-Nevet from the US. Deepa Kumar, originally from India, Shasha Liu from China, Luisa Perez-Mujica from Mexico, Buddi Poudel and Eak Rana, both from Nepal, Erika Cross from Mildura, and Adrian Clements from Albury. The students also had the opportunity to share their interests and hobbies in an ice-breaking activity with communications officer (web) Simone Engdahl. The Border Mail ran a story on the morning tea on Tuesday Agust 14. Read more
More than 50 people have attended each of the two seminars in this series so far…. a good sign that the series, for the Albury-Wodonga region, is meeting its aims. The collaborative series involves the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre, La Trobe University, Charles Sturt University (ILWS), the Murray Catchment Management Authority and the North-East Catchment Management Authority.
The seminar's first speaker Ian Burns, Director Environmental Hydrology for Murray-Darling Authority spoke on " Determining environmental water requirements & the environmentally sustainable level of take". The second seminar examined Fish deaths, Azolla and water quality: History and future prospects for the Broken Creek and was delivered by Gavin Rees, a senior scientist with the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre who also suggested some long term prospects for the management of Broken Creek, especially on the back of the 2012 floods. Jeff Curtis Associate Professor, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada was the speaker at the third seminar and his presentation was on" An introduction to the past, present and future of water science, policy and management for the semi-arid Okanagan Basin, British Columbia."
The topic of seminar 4 held on Thursday 6 September 2012 was Mobile Biochar Technology Development and presented by Andrew Briggs Waterways Project Officer, North East Catchment Management Authority. The current practice of burning debris heaps from waterway restoration works is attracting increasing scrutiny from community groups and government institutions due to concerns about greenhouse emissions, fire and occupational health and safety. The NECMA has taken a proactive approach to these issues and commenced a project in partnership with Earth Systems to develop a mobile device to convert woody debris into biochar.
The exhibition Marianas Wide held in the NMI Museum of History and Culture, Garapan, Saipan, CNMI from June 13 - August 18, 2012 captured a fleeting moment of Marianas history--a two-week period in early August 2011. The photographs represent people going about their daily lives; at their rancho, at the night-market, at church at work, taking time out to go fishing or just shooting the breeze. Shot on Guam, Saipan and Tinian, these images by ILWS researcher Dr Dirk Spennemann, reveal the diversity and complexity of the Mariana Islands and provide a historic 'snap-shot' of life in the Islands in the early years of the twenty-first century.
"As we move through our daily lives, the field of our standard three-dimensional vision covers an angle about 120º. Most cameras can frame only a small fraction of that, thereby disembodying the subject photographed and from its wider environmental setting." says Dirk. To contextualize people in their environment, at work or play, the artist used a vintage 1960s Panon Widelux. These Japanese 35mm film cameras were designed to reproduce a panoramic image covering 120 degrees; the same breadth of vision that the human eye sees.
Eight ILWS PhD students and post-doctoral fellows had the opportunity to take part in a two day "Publishing with Impact" workshop held at the Albury-Wodonga campus, June 14 and 15. The workshop was presented by Dr Camilla Myers from CSIRO Publishing and covered understanding the science publishing culture and why it is important to publish; the skills required to write well structured and easy-to-read scientific articles; how the editorial decision-making and peer-review process works; and the protocols and ethics of scientific publication. Participant PhD student Manu Saunders described the workshop as " truly was the most valuable workshop I have ever attended and I got a great deal of information and resources out of it that I know will help me to develop my career." Read more about her views on the workshop in her blog.
Climate change is expected to have major impact on the health of rivers in South Eastern Australia. So far the emphasis, particularly in the Murray Darling Basin, seems to have been on environmental flows as a means of keeping our rivers healthy but what other options are there and are they practical and cost-effective? With this question in mind, about 25 scientific experts, representatives from the three Catchment Management Authorities where the options are to be tested, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, and government agencies attended a workshop hosted by the Institute for Land, Water and Society at the Lake Hume Resort, May 7 to 9.
Left to right. Dr Anna Lukasiewicz, Prof Max Finlayson, Prof Peter Davies (Uni WA) Mr Fin Martin (Lachlan CMA).
The workshop was coordinated by Dr Anna Lukasiewicz, ILWS post-doctoral research fellow working on a National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility project called 'Identifying low risk climate change mitigation and adaptation in catchment management while avoiding unintended consequences.' Principal investigator is Institute director Prof Max Finlayson and co-researcher Dr Jamie Pittock, from ANU. The three Catchment Management Authorities involved in the project are the Goulburn Broken in Victoria and the Lachlan and Murray in NSW. The workshop is to be followed by stakeholder interviews, smaller workshops in each catchment and a report with recommendations. Link to full story on workshop [PDF]
Seventeen invited guests attended the book launched for the new Landscape Logic book on May 2 at the Wodonga offices of the North East Catchment Management Authority. Chair of the Landscape Logic project's Advisory board, Institute adjunct and former commissioner of the NSW Natural Resources Commission, Dr John Williams launched the book and spoke on how this book offers the hope of a better way forward, what we have learnt along the way and the story of the science and the investment in natural resources that will be of use to policy makers and researchers. The ILWS team of social scientists, led by Professor Allan Curtis (also a co-editor of the book), contributed to five chapters to the book.
Left to right. Prof Allan Curtis, Prof Ted Lefroy (UTAS) and Dr John Williams, Institute adjunct.
A workshop on Managed Aquifer Recovery (MAR) in Australia, held on April 26 and 27 in Canberra at the Australian National University, was co-convened by ILWS Professor Allan Curtis, together with Professor Tony Jakeman from ANU and Associate Professor Bryce Kelly, University of NSW.
(The organizers Allan Curtis and Tony Jakeman are in discussion with Chris McAuley (DSE, Victoria) and Adam Sluggett (MDBA) at MAR workshop at ANU, Canberra. Pic By Andrea Rawluk)
The invite-only workshop was intentionally limited to 25 participants who represented the key science disciplines within the NCGRT. Representatives from the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the National Water Commission, the relevant Queensland, NSW and Victorian government departments and the farming industry also attended.
The workshop examined the opportunity for MAR in farming landscapes by considering where water might be sourced; the capacity to store water in aquifers; the extent and type of demand for this technology; the environmental benefits, costs and risk associated; and the socio-economic benefits and costs.
Dr Andrew Stone, CEO of the non-profit, American Groundwater Association, was the keynote speaker.Participants also listened to and discussed presentations by a range of disciplinary experts before working in smaller groups to explore the opportunity for MAR in specific farming contexts in Queensland and Victoria.
( left: Wrap up discussion: Led by Tony Jakeman, participants discuss some findings and next stages for research at the end of the MAR workshop. Pic Andrea Rawluk)
About 40 people attended CSU's first public lecture in the 2012 series presented by ILWS Professor Kevin A Parton at the Orange Campus on April 20.
His talk on the sustainability of the Murray-Darling Basin and the trade-offs between economic, social and environmental objectives of increased flows of water in the Murray-Darling system (Australia's largest river system) was well received and generated many questions from the audience.
(pics by Mark Filmer)
During the lecture, Professor Parton detailed arguments for and against the proposed transfer of 2 750 gigalitres per year from irrigation into environmental flows. He considered the costs to irrigation farmers, the amounts of environmental water needed, gains for Murray-Darling communities from the plan, and the effects on the 'losers' from the plan. His preliminary research indicates a number of hypotheses that are worthy of further examination. First, several estimates suggest that the costs to farming will be small as long as irrigation water is purchased at its full market value. Second, there appear to be significant thresholds of environmental water flows which would be required to capture any worthwhile environmental benefits. Third, under various proposed compensation schemes, communities overall in the Murray-Darling Basin may benefit (rather than lose) from transfers of water within the above range. Fourth, there would be some losers from the transfer, especially those dependent on irrigated agriculture who have no irrigation entitlements. This would include local businesses supplying services to irrigated agriculture.
Presentation slides [PDF]
An exhibition featuring a selection of the botanical illustrations used in A/Prof David Watson's first book, Mistletoes of Southern Australia was held at the Albury Library Museum, from Saturday 10 December 2011 to Sunday 12 February 2012 . The exhibition titled 'Mistletoe Menace' featured the work of Albury artist Robyn Hulley as well as that of textile artist Rebecca Mayo who uses mistletoes to explore ideas about women, families and values.
Through the distorted lens of art photography, an exhibition by Associate Professor Dirk Spennemann explored a personal view of many of the sites in the Pacific region which played key roles in the War with Japan between 1941 and 1945. This exhibit explored aspects of the Pacific War in a large geographic arc, spanning from Australia in the South to the wind-swept Aleutian Islands of Alaska in the North.
The exhibition was shown at the Exhibition Space of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne from December 3, 2011 - January 15, 2012.
"Pacific Reminders" ran for six weeks over the Christmas period at the Shrine's Exhibition Space. Over that period, the shrine had over 100,000 visitors. Not everyone would have viewed the exhibition but even if only 10% of visitors looked at the exhibition, that's 10,000 people!
Four potential research areas were identified during a 2 day workshop for the new ILWS Improving Rural Livelihoods and Environments in Developing Countries SRA held August 30-31 at the CSU's Albury campus. They are:
These new areas for research will require integrated research and interdisciplinary collaboration and could develop into PhD projects or more general research projects depending on aims and funding sources.
Pic above: ILWS members and invited guests attending the workshop
The twenty-eight ILWS members who took part in the workshop were able to explore research issues and opportunities for collaboration in setting a research agenda with invited guests Dr Richard Callinan (University of Sydney), Dr Bob Fisher (University of Sydney), Dr Hem Baral (Himalayan Nature Pty Ltd). Presentations covered integrated research on community forestry, aquaculture, disaster management, foreign aid effectiveness, role of tourism and community development in Asia.
Scientists and administrators from India visited ILWS in August 2011 to investigate how Australia is addressing the sometimes conflicting uses for limited water resources. The group, who were from Loktak in Manipur state and Chilika in Orissa State, attended a specially-organised three day workshop at the Albury-Wodonga campus before going on a three day field trip to visit surrounding natural and artificial wetlands.
During the workshop at the campus the Indian visitors heard presentations from Institute researchers (Prof Max Finlayson, A/Prof Robyn Watts and Prof David Mitchell) as well as presentations by Dr Daryl Nielsen, Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, Dr Jamie Pittock, Australian National University, Patricia Bowen, Murray Catchment Management Authority, Dr Maria Bellio, University of NSW, Prof Cao Lei, University of Science and Technology of China, John Foster, DSEWPC, Dr Carmel Pollino, CSIRO, Dean Ansell, MDBA, Judy Frankenberg, Murray Wetlands Working group. A range of topics covered including wetlands and dam re-operation, managing wetlands in the future-coping with global change, and integrated river/wetland management – dams, energy and climate.
The group at Lake Cowal
After the workshop the group set off on a three day tour of wetlands to see first-hand conditions in the field. The itinerary included a visit to the Fivebough Wetlands with Mike Schultz, the Leeton sewerage treatment plant, the Narrandera Fisheries Centre , a tour of the Lake Cowal Foundation education centre, hosted by Mal Carnegie , Projects manager of the Lake Cowal Foundation and on the final day a trip through the Barmah wetlands and tour by boat along the Murray River with Keith Ward from Goulburn Murray CMA.
Two international experts were key presenters at an ILWS-organised ecosystems services workshop in Canberra on 24-25 August.
The workshop, attended by 40 people, was funded by CSIRO, ILWS, State Water Corporation (NSW) and the MDBA . Professor Robert Johnston of Clarke University in Massachusetts and Associate Professor Dolf de Groot of Wageningen University in The Netherlands participated in a series of presentations which examined the experiences of several overseas counties in the use and valuation of ecosystems services and highlighted some of the challenges of valuing ecosystems services in Australia.
Ecosystems services are essentially the benefits we gain from natural or environmental resources and processes. They have a significant effect on human health and wellbeing, so have an economic and social value. However, differences in opinion sometimes arise when it comes to identifying which benefits to value and then quantifying these values.
Pic right Prof Mark Morrison and David Pearce
The other speakers at the workshop were Dr Steve Cork, of EcoInsights, CSIRO Research Scientist Dr Carmel Pollino, Associate Professor Gary Luck (ILWS), CSIRO Stream Leader Coastal Futures Dr Wendy Proctor, ILWS Director Professor Max Finlayson, Professor Pierre Horwitz (School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University), Professor Lin Crase (La Trobe University), Dr Rod Duncan (ILWS), CSIRO Senior Research Scientist Dr Neville Crossman, ANU Adjunct Professor Dr Neil Byron, CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellow Shuang Liu, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures Research Director Dr Roel Plant, ANU Director of International Programs for the UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance Dr Jamie Pittock, and The Centre for International Economics, Executive Director, David Pearce.
A major theme of the presentations and two roundtable discussions was the importance of economists, ecologists and sociologists working together to help refine and improve methods for identifying and valuing ecosystems services. To date, inter-disciplinary differences, particularly in approaches to valuing benefits, has resulted in limited inter-disciplinary collaboration.
Photo right A/Prof Dolf de Groot from Wageningen University had the opportunity to catch up with one of his Masters students Ms Hiyoba Ghirmay, from Eritrea, who is living in Australia and working for CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences (Adelaide)
The two-day workshop was held at a time when Australia's Murray Darling Basin Authority is assessing the likely social and economic impacts on local communities of options for its sustainable diversion limits for the basin. Several staff from the MDBA attended the workshop and Tony Webster, the Authority's General Manager Social Economic Analysis, spoke about this assessment process.
"To my mind the purpose of this workshop was to bring together the experts from around the country... to see how much we really know, and how quickly that can be pulled together in a way that will help inform better decisions". Dr Jamie Pittock, ANU. Photo Left
CSU researchers are currently working with the CSIRO to complete a project entitled 'Multiple Benefits of the MDBA Basin Plan', which will include an outline of some ecosystems services benefits to Basin communities.
Visiting international academic, Dr Jan Pokorný, has been on a mission to have plants and how they cycle water, brought forward in the climate change debate.
While he understands why carbon emissions have come to the forefront of the debate and doesn't dispute the fact they are one of the causes of climate change, he believes the critical role plants have in distributing solar energy and equalizing temperature extremes is being overlooked and under emphasised.
" When you do the scientific numbers, the effect of greenhouse gases on climate change is nothing compared to the energy fluxes when you remove vegetation," says Jan, who was in Australia for three weeks in March as a visitor to the Institute.
And, going by his presentations at special seminars in Canberra and Thurgoona in March, he and his colleagues have the scientific facts and figures to back up their argument. (Presentation)
His presentation at CSIRO on Tuesday 22 March was to a group of twenty five and included scientists, members of farming organisations and the International Scientific Research Panel for Natural Sequence Farming including former Governor General Major General Michael Jeffery.
Wednesday 23 March more than twenty ILWS researchers, students and members of the public gathered for his presentation at the CSU Thurgoona Campus.
Dr Pokorný is a plant physiologist and wetland ecologist from the Czech Republic who has most recently been researching the role of the plant-water cycle in climate change mitigation and why its significance is largely ignored in the political-scientific discourse on climate change.
He has co-authored a book called "Water for Recovery of the Climate" (www.waterparadigm.org) and also directs ENKI, a public benefit corporation focussed on applied research of environmental issues (http://www.enki.cz/index.php?l=en).
More than 60 people attended an ILWS workshop in Canberra on March 2 to hear several prominent speakers, including an academic named as one of the world's 75 most influential people, address two key questions relating to climate change.
Adjunct Professor Bjørn Lomborg, an economist at Denmark's Copenhagen Business School and the Institute Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, headed the list of speakers, who also included award-winning Canadian architect Michael Green, as well as leading economists Dr Ben McNeil (University of NSW Climate Change Centre) and the ILWS's Dr Rod Duncan, who is based at CSU Bathurst.
(From Left A/Prof Bjørn Lomborg, Dr Rod Duncan, Michael Green, Dr Ben McNeil, Prof Mark Morrison)
The four speakers addressed two questions: "What should Australian government policy be in managing climate change? How should the Australian government build resilience into the economy and community given greater variability in climates?"
Professor Lomborg has written several books on climate change including The Skeptical Environmentalist and the new Smart Solutions to Climate Change. He focuses on the importance of technology and innovation in changing the supply/demand equation rather than more traditional mitigation strategies such as carbon pollution reduction or taxation schemes.
ILWS researcher Professor Kevin Parton, who is Head of the Orange Campus of Charles Sturt University, said the workshop was very informative.
Professor Lomborg's main point was that we need to have governments spend money on research and development to develop green technologies. Research is relatively cheap, and the returns to this research will be significantly positive. We need to develop cheap green technology and not expensive conventional technology (as we would under a carbon price scheme).
Michael Green is the founder of mgb Architecture + Design, a firm of 30 employees specialising in environmentally sustainable design. Mr Green has a passion for designing buildings with light carbon footprints. He is particularly passionate about using sustainably grown wood products in buildings.
He told participants that he was a strong supporter of a new green technology – wooden high-rise buildings. Special wood laminates, known as LSL panels, make such buildings possible. LSL panels are made from young trees (10-12 years old) and so can be grown from rapidly renewable forests. Mr Green said Japan has numerous high-rise wooden buildings, including a 19-storey building dating back 1,400 years. The only thing preventing the development of such buildings in most cities in the world today was unnecessarily restrictive local building regulations, he said.
Dr McNeil, who is a senior research fellow with the UNSW's Climate Change Research Centre, argued that Australia needed to encourage new green industries which would be able to compete in international markets. At the moment, Australia effectively had 'protected carbon' and this was discouraging the development of new green technologies.
Dr Duncan's key point was that humans are very bad predictors of the future. Dr Duncan, who is the leader of the ILWS's Ecosystems Services Strategic Research Area, argued that there was no reason to believe that predictions of climate change will be any more accurate than many previous predictions that have proved wildly inaccurate. He also argued that there was no reason to believe that we could make good predictions about the likely course of future green technology.
However, Dr Duncan said we could expect some form of new technology to develop in response to climate change, so we needed to act to establish the best conditions under which innovation and invention could most easily take place. The workshop was chaired by ILWS researcher Professor Mark Morrison.
Participants included numerous public servants from the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, , as well as many economists and academics from the University of Canberra and the Australian National University.
The venue chosen for the launch of A/Prof David Watson's first book Mistletoes of Southern Australia and an exhibition of 25 of the botanical illustrations featured in the book proved to be idea with good lighting, plenty of space and a lovely park-like setting.
Around 100 people gathered at Domain House, adjacent to Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens, late Friday afternoon, February 25 to celebrate David and artist Robyn Hulley's combined achievement.
A/Prof David Watson and Robyn Hulley
The book, which has been published by CSIRO Publishing, is a comprehensive guide to half of Australia's 91 known mistletoe species. It contains over 100 colour photographs (many taken by David, a keen photographer) and 51 of Robyn's watercolour illustrations.
The book represents the first thorough treatment of mistletoes in Australia and is the first 'field guide' to mistletoes world-wide. It provides an up-to-date summary of the biology, ecology and management of mistletoes in Australia.
Institute adjuncts Barney Foran and David Roshier
The book was launched by the CEO of Birds Australia, Dr Graeme Hamilton, who praised the work and said he was looking forward to reading the book and learning more about mistletoes. Both David and Robyn spoke on their experiences in creating the book.
A/Prof David Watson and one of his
former PhD students Dr Anna Burns
Also at the venue was an exhibition of work by Rebecca Mayo, a mixed media artist and print-maker whose work features mistletoes. On display were two garments Rebecca has made using fabric printed with a mistletoe motif and mistletoe dyes.
Book sales on the evening were handled by volunteers from the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne with profits going back to the group.
The book has a recommended retail price of A$49.95 from bookstores, order online from CSIRO Publishing or call 1300 788 000.
Artist Rebecca Mayo
"Getting the Balance Right" was the theme of this year's conference convened by ILWS member Dianne McGrath from the School of Accounting. Held at the CSU Albury campus December 5 - 7, the program included examples of practical applications of working with the environment, papers from a range of social and environmental accounting foci, and plenary speakers from a range of disciplines. The walking plenary tour of the campus and wetlands, demonstrating working examples of functionality and best environmental building practice, followed by a networking function held in the first 6 star accredited energy efficient commercial building in Australia was a highlight of the conference.
The presentations from the plenary speakers received accolades for the insight from non accounting disciplines. Professor Max Finlayson, Director of CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society, drew on his experience and involvement in projects around people, ecology and water to reflect critically on the success or lack of success of these interactions. Mr Bernard Murphy, Chairman of leading Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn, provided a perspective from the legal discipline, in particular the role of class actions as a motivator for corporations to consider social and environmental impacts in decision making. Professor Ken McPhail, the final plenary speaker, spoke on Corporate Accountability and Human Rights.
Charles Sturt University in partnership with Seoul National University organised an international conference on Vision of Social Development in the Globalised Asia: Commonality and diversity, at Seoul National University, Korea, November 10-12. The conference partially supported by the ILWS and led by Professor Manohar Pawar as the President of the International Consortium for Social Development, Asia Pacific Branch was attended by 120+ delegates from 20 countries.
Pic from left Profs. Chambers, Shank and Pawar
Conference sessions focused on areas including community development, women's rights, issues of poverty and children, international social development, social policy, elderly issues, and poverty. A special part of the conference on the second day was a student forum organized by students from Ehwa Women's University, Graduate School of Social Welfare.
A UNESCO Statement on Sustainable Dam Planning and Operations calling for much greater investment in sustainability practices is one of the outputs from an international workshop held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, October 27 to 28.
The Institute was one of the three sponsors of the workshop "Challenges and Solutions for Improving Dam Operations and Planning" which was convened by A/Prof Robyn Watson and Brian Richter, co-director of The Nature Conservancy's Global Freshwater Program which is a U.S. NGO. The other sponsors were UNESCO's Division of Water Sciences which is headed by former Institute member Prof Shahbaz Kahn and The Nature Conservancy.
The workshop was attended by 18 people from the U.S., Australia, South Africa, China, Nepal and Brazil, including scientists, managers involved in river operations and people working on programs to improve dam operations and decisions on new dams.
Outcomes, other than the UNESCO Statement, include précised information on various case studies that will be included in the World Water Report and a technical report published by UNESCO with papers from the presentations at the workshops and papers that are a synthesis of the findings and the group workshop.
A morning tea held on Monday, October 18 at the Gums Café in Thurgoona provided an ideal opportunity for the thirty one staff, students and guests who attended to celebrate three books published by ILWS members in 2010.The books were:
Photo above from left Dr Digby Race, A/Prof Gary Luck and Prof Manohar Pawar
Professor Manohar Pawar described how the process of research for a conference paper led to 21,000 words, too many for a journal article, but the start of his writing a book on Community Development in Asia and the Pacific. He also reflected on the satisfaction derived from working on his second book, a collaborative effort with Adjunct Prof David Cox of LaTrobe University.
A/Prof Gary Luck said that the first book he has edited, Demographic Change in Australia's Rural Landscapes, was five years in the making and was an example of the integrated research the Institute strives to do. It, along with a forum 'The changing nature of our rural neighbourhoods' held in November 2008, were outputs from the Institute's former 'demographic change in rural areas' integration group. A number of the chapters in the book were written by ILWS researchers, many of whom come from different disciplines.
1. Patterns, drivers and implications of demographic change in rural landscapes; Digby Race, Gary W Luck, Rosemary Black.
2. Amenity-led migration in rural Australia: A new driver of local demographic and environmental change?; Neil Argent, Matthew Tonts, Roy Jones, John Holmes.-
3. Sea- and tree-change phenomena in Far North Queensland, Australia: Impacts of land use change and mitigation potential; Iris C. Bohnet, Nicky Moore.-
4. Seeking trees or escaping traffic? Socio-cultural factors and 'tree-change' migration in Australia; Angela T Ragusa.-
5. Demographic change and rural nature; Gary W Luck.-
6. Agricultural areas under metropolitan threats: Lessons for Perth from Barcelona; Valerià Paül, Fiona Haslam McKenzie.-
7. Agricultural land ownership change and natural resource management: Comparing Australian and US case studies; Emily Mendham, Hannah Gosnell, Allan Curtis.-
8. Land-use planning and demographic change: Mechanisms for designing rural landscapes and communities; Joanne Millar.-
9. Demographic change and the implications for commercial forestry: Lessons from south-east Australia; Hugh T L Stewart, Digby Race, Allan Curtis.-
10. Why farming families decide to maintain native biodiversity on their farms and the implications of demographic change for conservation policies; Quentin Farmar-Bowers.-
11 . Immigration and multicultural place-making in rural and regional Australia; Kirrily Jordan, Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, Jock Collins.-
12. Too bad to stay or too good to leave? Two generations of women with a farming background – what is their attitude regarding the sustainability of the Australian family farm?; Ingrid Muenstermann.-
13. Doing more for fewer: Health care for declining rural communities; Ann Larson.-
14. Staffing rural schools: A new perspective; Colin Boylan.-
15. Fly-in fly-out: The challenges of transient populations in rural landscapes; Fiona Haslam McKenzie.-
16. Demographic change in rural Australia: Future opportunities and challenges; Gary W Luck, Rosemary Black, Digby Race.
To purchase the book go to CSIRO Publishing Link
Orange Botanic Gardens Sunday October 17 was the location for a fun day to raise awareness in the community of why we should and how we can help enhance biodiversity in our region. Activities included nature based games and competitions for families and children, talks for gardeners and farmers, talks on CSU research on helping communities to devise strategies to improve biodiversity and biological /ecological survey equipment demonstrations. Dr. Andrew Rawson (climate change), Dr. Anne Kerle (vertebrate fauna of the Central West), Maryanne Smith (woodlands), Nigel Hobden (Orange wildlife) and Bev Smiles (Travelling Stock Reserves) and Dr Cilla Kinross's talk on wildlife on farms and in gardens) there were videos by Scott Banks of peregrine fame and Rod Shrimpton. The program was varied, interesting, entertaining, colourful and, most importantly, informative in relation to the plight of our biodiversity, here in the Central West of NSW.
Checking for bugs during the Biodiversity Discovery Day
The Water On Tap? Exhibition, at the Albury Art Gallery ran from October - December 2010, brought together science, art and practice. ILWS Social scientist Dr Penny Davidson said she organised the exhibition as a way of sharing information about the research around water undertaken by the Institute and its scientists with the community.
"We do a lot of research around water but are we really sharing that information with the community who, particularly as a result of the drought, are also concerned about water and would like perhaps to better understand the importance of the links between humans and all living things and water?" said Dr Davidson.
The exhibition, which celebrated National Water Week (October 17 to 23) included photography, textiles, mixed media, sound, sculpture, information panels, video and a computer generated flyover of the Murray River. The three sponsors were the Murray Catchment Management Authority, the ILWS and AlburyCity.
"The art, not only helps tell the science story, but provokes all of us to think a bit differently about water and offer new insights," said Dr Davidson.
The 'practice' element to the exhibition was depicted in a display of one the Murray CMAs projects – the Edward-Wakool Environmental Water Management project.
From left Murray CMA board member Brian Royal, Dr Penny Davidson, and Cr Neville Hull at the exhibition opening
"By the three elements coming together for this exhibition, it demonstrates they are all interlinked, just as our whole web of life is interlinked with water," said Dr Davidson. "Science doesn't stand alone, it meshes with art, and practice doesn't stand alone, it meshes with science and art, and art doesn't stand alone, it draws its fodder from practice and our scientific thinkings."
To celebrate four years of ILWS scholarships, six of the eight PhD students with ILWS scholarships gave an interesting selection of short presentations at Thurgoona on Wednesday afternoon, September 22. After afternoon tea and an introduction by Institute director Prof Max Finlayson, an attentive audience of about 30 listened and asked questions of the presenters – Sylvia Zukowski, Katherine Behrendt (from Bathurst), Manu Saunders, Jane Roots, Anna Lukasiewicz and Wayne Deans – on their various PhD topics covering everything from pollination services in almond plantations to building Australia's future landscapes. Also down from Bathurst was Katherine's supervisor and the Institute's Associate Director, Prof Mark Morrison. The students and some of their supervisors then went on to enjoy an evening meal in Albury and a lively discussion on ways to increase publications and opportunities for mentoring with the Dean of the Faculty of Science Prof Nick Klomp.
(Photo above From L to R Dr Rik Thwaites, Dr Digby Race, A/Prof Robyn Watts, Sylvia Zukowski, Manu Saunders, Wayne Deans, Prof Max Finlayson, Anna Lukasiewicz, Jane Roots, Katherine Behrendt, A/Prof Gary Luck, Prof Mark Morrison, A/Prof Ian Lunt)
Topics of the presentations
At the turn of the 20th century electric cars were a serious competitor to the internal combustion engine. As an urban runabout it offered many advantages due to the ease with which it could be driven and was thought of as particularly suitable for women. The early petrol car was an "adventure machine", a "toy for the boys", not least because it was unreliable and took a lot of skill to drive and maintain. In the end it was the versatility of the petrol-engine car that won out over the environmental benefits of the low emissions of the electric car.
The current debate in future transport options mirrors these historical concerns. So what can the history of transport (or mobility) offer to the public debate on transport, emissions, urban congestions, rural transformation and how we might move ourselves and goods in the future?
Are there lessons from the past that offer useful strategies for the challenges facing us in transport, energy distribution and consumption?
(L to R) Dr Masimo Moraglia, Professor Hans-Luidger Dienel, Professor Colin Divall, Assoc Prof Ian Gray
These topics were addressed in three very interesting presentations by international guests, Professor Colin Divall , History, University of York, Professor Hans-Luidger Dienel of the Berlin Technical University Institute of Society and Technology, and Dr Massimo Moraglio, Berlin Technical University to members of the IPE Strategic research area at a one day workshop in Wagga Wagga on August 30. The workshop which began with a short overview Institute Adjunct Barney Foran on the international energy issue, was attended thirteen participants including two members of CSIROs Division of Sustainable Ecosystems.
A past ILWS PhD student Sonia Graham, who now works for CSIRO, completed the morning presentations with an overview of the results of a recent social research project on environmental impacts of Australian household consumption and lifestyles.
The presentations provided the basis for the afternoon discussions which included possible research directions, funding sources and opportunities for international collaborative research possibilities Further work will be undertaken to develop the ideas proposed at the workshop to flesh out the ideas to create research proposals.
A workshop which focussed on climate change adaptation options for sustainably managing wetlands in the Murray –Darling Basin now and into the future has identified many of the key issues and challenges facing the Basin and policy makers.
Organised by the Institute and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) the workshop was was held at CSIRO, Black Mountain, in Canberra on July 12 and 13.
It was attended by 18 technical and water management experts including representatives from the Murray Darling Basin Authority, NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water, CSIROs Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Presentations which helped lead the discussions included "What climate change may mean for floodplain wetlands in the MDB" by Flagship Director for Water for a Healthy Country Dr Bill Young ; "Wetland adaptation in the Basin: Beyond environmental flows" by WWF Research Associate with ANUs Fenner School of Environment and Society, Mr Jamie Pittock; and "Wetland restoration, adaptation and Ramsar Convention Guidance" by Deputy Secretary General of Ramsar, Professor Nick Davidson, who is based at the organisation's Swiss headquarters. Prof Davidson is also an Institute adjunct.
Some of the issues identified and discussed included the relationship between global climate change and natural variability; scales of adaptation; how to work out the risks and how to manage for risk; the fact that the MDB is already in transformation; how to work within the different governances; and social factors.
"Wetlands in the Basin are already under intense pressure from past and current management practices, including water allocations, and the drought," said Institute director Professor Max Finlayson. "Climate change is expected to exacerbate all these issues and further complicate how we manage our wetlands with large parts of the Basin, particularly in the south-east, expected to be warmer and drier in the future."
Max currently heads the 'Wetlands and Climate Change' theme of the Scientific Technical Review Panel for the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The workshop will provide input into the Murray-Darling Basin planning processes and other program planning and was part of the formal input by Ramsar's Scientific Technical Review Panel on climate change.
(L to R) Prof Nick Davidson from Ramsar, National coordinator for NCCARF's Water Resources and freshwater Biodiversity Network, Brendan Edgar, and Prof Max Finlayson
(L to R)John Foster, Director, Wetlands Policy and Legislation, Aquatic Systems Health Branch; DEWHA , Dr Andrea Wilson, ILWS and Dr Sarah Ryan, an Hon. Fellow with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
The Institute was one of the sponsors of an open day held on Sunday, May 23 to launch a new regional conservation partnership, Slopes to Summit. The Farm and Environmental Open Day was held at a property at Woomargama and attended by more than 200 people.
The day acknowledged some of the great work being done by farmers and landholders in the Upper Murray region to increase the quality, size, and connectivity of native vegetation, and the vital role they play in sustaining the health of the region, especially in the face of climate change.
Speakers on the day spoke on an array of topics from soil health to native grasses, managing native pastures,and habitat restoration for wildlife, including threatened and declining woodland dependant birds. Dean of the University's Faculty of Science Prof Nick Klomp gave an entertaining talk on 'Quirky science; be amused not alarmed' while the Institute's A/Prof Dave Watson talked about mistletoe and led a tour of the restoration trials at the property. PhD student Ian Cole spoke on native grasses.
Dr Andrea Crampton was kept busy at her information stand promoting the results of her local drinking water study and said she enjoyed many interesting discussions with participants about their own water management practices, suggesting ways to minimise potential risks.
The Slopes to Summit project covers an area from woodlands north-west of Albury to the foothills of Mt Kosciusko. It is a partnership which connects landholders and supporting organisations together - working towards a common long term goal of landscape resilience.
In early December the Institute hosted a delegation of eight Russian comprising 8 MP's, project managers and departmental officials from the Lower Volga Region in Russia. As part of a nine day tour studying Australian wetlands and water management systems, the group visited the Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona and had a guided tour of the wetlands by adjunct professor David Mitchell. They also heard presentations by the Institute's Dr Paul Humphries and Dr Jonathon Howard (following on from a presentation by Prof Max Finlayson earlier in the tour), and Adrian Wells, from the Murray Darling Association and NSW Murray Wetlands Working group.
In a "two-way" exchange of information ILWS members heard a presentation by the Russian translator and project consultant Harald Leumanns on a five year project "Conservation of wetland biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region" which has been funded by the United Nations Development Program and Global Environment Facility . As a result of the project the total surface of protected nature areas will increase almost three times.
Pictured left: Victor Ivanovich, Harald Leummens with Prof Sue Thomas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
The group also visited Wonga Wetlands, Yanga National Park, Werribee Wetlands, Sydney Olympic Park, Barmah State Forest, Lake Mokoan and had meetings with representatives from the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts, the National Water Commission, Murray Darling Basin Authority and CSIRO –Water for a Healthy Country Flagship.
Pictured left: The Russian visitors tour the wetlands at CSU's campus at Thurgoona.
National Forum 17-18 November, 2009, Albury The Institute for Land, Water and Society, in partnership with Landscape Logic CERF, Future Farm Industries CRC, CSIRO and NCCARF held a two day Forum to discuss and debate the current and future social and institutional issues which challenge researchers, resource managers, policy makers, and members of rural communities. Read more
"Environmental and Resource Economics Early Career Researchers Workshop
3-4 November, 2009, Bathurst Link to brochure and program
The Institute was a co-host, together with the Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust, Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority and the Waterbirds Society of the "Wetlands and Waterbirds: Managing for Resilience" conference held at Leeton, NSW, from November 9 to 12.
Co-convened by the Institute's Dr Iain Taylor, the conference attracted key scientists (both national and international) working in this field including Dr S Balachandran, assistant director of the Bombay Natural History Society, India; and A/Prof Chris Elphick, University of Connecticut, U.S who both spoke on research in their respective countries.
Institute members at the conference included:
* Prof Max Finlayson, speaking on "Effects of climate change on wetlands and waterbirds in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Flyway"
* Dr Iain Taylor—"The habitat requirements of waterbirds on Australian inland wetlands"
* PhD candidate Anna Lukasiewicz — "Equity in water governance in Australia'
* Prof Mark Morrison — "How much do people value wetlands and waterbirds?"
Since 2000 Fivebough Swamp, a Ramsar-listed swamp on the edge of Leeton has been managed by the Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust, a non-profit making community organisation chaired by Mike Schultz. The swamp supports a high diversity and abundance of waterbirds including seven species listed as threatened within NSW, five species exceeding 1% of their total global population and 24 listed under the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement. At the conference Mr Schultz outlined the main management approaches which have included zoning Fivebough Swamp and using a variety of controlled grazing regimes.
Pictured (above): Mike Schultz, chair, Fivebough & Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust; Dr Chris Elphick, University of Connecticut; Dr Iain Taylor, ILWS and Dr Peter Smith, DECCW
On the last day of the conference, there was a tour to Yanga National Park which is located within the Lower-Murrumbidgee Floodplain in south-western NSW and includes some of the most significant and important wetland habitat in NSW. It also supports the largest known population of the endangered Southern bell Frog in the State.
One of the eight adjuncts attending the inaugural ILWS Research Forum held in Wagga Wagga on 16 and 17 June commented that it was a valuable opportunity to get people from across the Institute together and work towards one goal. The Forum was held to to focus on setting a research agenda to tackle the big issues facing the Murray Darling Basin.
Around 70 ILWS researchers from Orange, Wagga, Albury Thurgoona and Bathurst campuses attended the forum. Environmental issues including restoring and sustaining our wetlands and valuing ecosystem services were up for discussion as well as economic and social areas such as the future for regional natural resource management, human wellbeing and healthy communities, and developing regional business enterprise.
Guest speakers who presented in their area of expertise were:
Prof Jan McDonald, Griffith University (pictured right, with Prof Mark Morrison)
Dr Wendy Craik, Productivity Commission
Ms Roslyn Dundas, ACTCOSS (ACT Council of Social Service)
Dr Denis Foley, University of Newcastle
Dr David Godden, Department of Environment and Climate Change
Dr Sue McIntyre, CSIRO
Dr Neil Ward, Murray Darling Basin Authority
Two Inaugural Awards for Research Excellence were presented at the Forum, with the winner of the Individual Award presented to Dr Jo Millar for her research focusing on environmental and livelihood issues affecting rural communities in regional Australia and South East Asia. The Team Award went to A/Prof Robyn Watts, Dr Catherine Allan, Professor Kath Bowmer, A/Prof Ken Page, Dr Andrea Wilson and Dr Darren Ryder who are making a significant contribution to the knowledge of adaptive management of river operations and has influenced on-ground change in dam operations.
Pictured right (L to R): Prof Max Finlayson with team award winners A/Prof Robyn Watts and Dr Catherine Allan.
Social events were an important part of the Forum program, giving members the chance to meet and talk informally. Margrit Beemster explained the photographic exhibition by Dirk Spenneman, a series of black and white images entitled "The Triple Bottom Line: no water, no hope. no chance".
Pictured left: Bitter Harvest, an image from the exhibition
During the cocktail hour the special edition of Rural Society was launched by guest editor Professor Kath Bowmer (pictured, left) who explained the challenges involved in pulling together the "Water and Gender" themed issue. Incoming editor Dr Angela Ragusa spoke of her desire to see Rural Society flourish and encouraged ILWS researchers to support the journal.
The Forum Dinner, held at a local restaurant, was a great success with music provided by Albury musician Paul Gibbs and Rod Duncan and Mark Morrison ran a very entertaining and challenging trivia quiz.
Pictured right: Enjoying dinner are (L to R) Zelma Bone, Max Finlayson, Roslyn Dundas, Rachel O'Brien, David Watson and Justin Watson.
A summary of information collated at the break out group sessions held throughout the Forum will be posted online soon.
Speaker Presentations(all .pdf)
Topic 1 - Living with climate change, Prof Jan McDonald, Griffith University
Topic 1 - Living with climate change, Prof Kevin Parton, CSU
Topic 2 - Restoration of rivers and wetlands, Prof Max Finlayson, CSU
Topic 2 - River and floodplain research, A/Prof Robyn Watts, CSU
Topic 3 - Regional natural resource management, Jonathon Howard, CSU
Topic 4 - Healthy communities, Roslyn Dundas, ACTCOSS
Topic 4 - Healthy regional communities, Dr Wendy Bowles, CSU
Topic 5 - Indigenous entrepreneurship, Dr Dennis Foley, University of Newcastle
Topic 6 - Ecosystem Services, Dr David Godden, Department of Environment and Climate Change
Topic 6 - Valuing the Murray and Coorong, Prof Mark Morrison, CSU
Topic 7 - Biodiversity, A/Prof Ian Lunt, CSU
Snapshot - Energy Futures, Barney Foran, CSU
Snapshot - Occupancy Mapping, Dr Neil Ward, Murray Darling Basin Authority
Institute members were active participants in the University-wide events organised to celebrate the 200th birthday of the 'father of evolution,' Charles Darwin on Feb 12.
Morning teas, complete with large birthday cakes, were held at the Wagga Wagga and the Albury-Wodonga (Thurgoona) campuses. The highlight of the morning tea at Albury-Wodonga was A/Prof David Watson and wife Maggie's new baby son Charlie who slept through the celebrations despite the media's interest in photographing and filming him. Dr Paul Humphries also welcomed the School of Environmental Science 's six new honours students describing them as "the next generation of scientists to discover and push back the frontiers of science as we are hopefully doing now."
In Wagga a large contingent of staff gathered to help blow out the 200 candles, which took several attempts despite much effort. Wagga High School students were also included in the activities on Tuesday with the screening of the film "A flock of dodos" at the Riverina Playhouse. This was followed by a question and answer session with academics including ecologist Dr Skye Wassens.
Picture above: Staff on the Wagga Wagga campus battle with the wind to light the 200 candles on Darwin's cake..
Pictured left: Cutting the cake is Stacey Kopf with help from ILWS colleagues on Albury-Wodonga (Thurgoona) campus.
Picture below: Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Peter Pridmore and Dr Dennis Black at the Botanic Gardens gathering.
On Thursday evening about 40 scientific colleagues
joined Dr Paul Humphries and others from the Institute for a glass of champagnes and another birthday cake, complete with 200 candles, at Albury's Botanic Gardens at 5.30pm. Environmental scientists Dr Peter Pridmore and Dr Dennis Black from La Trobe University at Wodonga said it was great idea to celebrate Darwin's Birthday as did the former education officer at Wodonga Wetlands, Mike Copland and Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre macro-vertebrate ecologist John Hawking. "It's a good opportunity to catch up with colleagues," said Mr Hawking.
Hosted by the ILWS 'demographic change in rural areas' integration group, this successful forum held on 26 November attracted around 80 people from across Victoria and NSW. Participants heard the latest research on this topic and gained perspectives from local landholders and business leaders. The forum included a feedback session to discuss future research needs. A diverse mix of people from local, state and federal government, CMA's, local industry and business, NGO's, landholders, researchers attended.
Pictured (above): Forum convenor Gary Luck with speakers Cameron McKern and Mary Terrill.
Pictured (left): David Mitchell, Penny Cooke, Deanna Duffy
and Janice Horsfield.
Speakers included Prof Jim Walmsley (UNE),
Dr Neil Argent (UNE), Dr Angela Ragusa (CSU),
Cameron McKern (YCDCo),
Emily Mendham (CSU) and
landholder Mary Terrill.
Pictured (left): Jim Walmsley, Gary Luck and Neil Argent.
After two years of planning, the Australian Forest Growers 2008 National Conference held in Albury-Wodonga at the Albury Convention Centre, October 19 to 22, was indeed a credit to all those involved.
The smoothly run conference, with the theme Forestry for a Better Future: climate, commerce and communities attracted 270 delegates from across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.S. and Europe. It has been hailed as the most important forestry conference to be held in the region in 20 years.
Pictured (L to R): Dr Digby Race, Tony Cannon and Barney Foran.
The Institute for Land, Water and Society played a major role in the organisation of the conference with senior research fellow Dr Digby Race the convenor of the conference; conference and events co-ordinator Kate Roberts on the conference organising committee; and communications coordinator Margrit Beemster involved in publicity/media for and during the conference. Institute adjunct research fellow Barney Foran was a keynote speaker at the conference. His views on tree crops being an efficient source of bio-energy and call for large scale plantings of trees across Australia were well received both by the conference audience and regional, national and international media. Also presenting at the conference was PhD student Hugh Stewart who spoke on the role of planted forests in rural landscapes.
Digby said the successful conference engaged a diverse range of people involved in forest growing, processing and marketing.
"The conversation at this conference has evolved from previous AFG national conferences where the discussion was formerly about the technical side of growing trees," said Digby. "The industry is really addressing new frontiers for forest growing in Australia, such as bio-energy, emissions trading and biodiversity. The desire is growing for forestry and agriculture to co-exist to enhance Australia 's economy, landscapes and communities."
Mr Tony Cannon, the President of the Australian Forest Growers which is a national association representing the interests of private forest growers, congratulated the conference organisers on a successful event. "The conference you organised was a truly quality conference and it was a fantastic effort," said Tony. "On behalf of AFG I extend a big thank you for what you have achieved.
Pictured in the ILWS trade display,
(L to R): Dr Digby Race, Barney Foran, Binod Devkota, Kate Roberts and Lukas Wibowo.
"I think one of the achievements was reinforcing the importance of farm forestry in the forestry sector's mix in Australia. I hope this can help to add weight to the need to reverse the decisions by some governments to reduce services to private growers. The diversity of attendees was one of the conference's great strengths as it has exposed a range of people who may not normally get close to the real tree growers … to see the innovation and challenges that occur on the ground.
"Above all the conference was an extremely enjoyable event."
One hundred and twenty people, many of them landholders, participated in a one day seminar on September 17 which aimed to inform people of the pros and cons of Government environmental services programs; and to clarify the processes around carbon trading.
Pictured (L to R) : Attendees Warren Vogel, Dr Joanne Millar, Sue Brunskill and Lachlan Campbell from the Australian Alpine Valleys Agribusiness Forum
The seminar, which included addresses by Institute members Prof Max Finlayson, Prof Mark Morrison and Prof Allan Curtis, was organised by the Australian Alpine Valleys Agribusiness Forum in conjunction with the North East Catchment Management Authority with the support of North East Water, Plantations North East and the Institute for Land, Water and Society. It was held at CSUs Nowik Theatre in Albury.
Pictured (L to R): The Institute's Jenni Greig and Prof Mark Morrison who spoke on "Evaluation of Current Options" and Vicki Ratcliff, the Director of Environmental Stewardship with the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage & Arts.
The Institute's Dr Joanne Millar, who was on the organising committee, said the committee felt the day was very successful as it attracted both agency staff and landholders and it did a lot in terms of explaining what environmental services actually are.
"It also explored a lot of questions around carbon trading and how and if it may relate to agriculture," said Dr Millar.
The event was well covered by the media with coverage by
Prime TV Albury, the Victorian Country Hour and the Border Mail.
Pictured: Institute director Prof Max Finlayson (left) with Mick Keogh (right), Director of the Australian Farm Institute.
The launch of A/Prof Bruce Pennay's brochure "So Much Sky" at the Albury Library Museum on Friday, September 12 as part of History Week 2008 was an opportunity for those who attended to hear of and share in the experiences of migrants passing through the Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre at Albury, NSW from 1947-1971.
Among those who spoke at the launch was John Petersen, manager, migration Heritage Centre, NSW, who is based in Sydney, and acting mayor of Albury City, Cr Henk van de Ven.
Bruce (pictured right), an historian and Institute adjunct, said Australia, in 1947 when the centre opened, was very much Anglo/Celtic. "We then opened our doors to people who were some how different, who didn't speak English," he said. "This challenged Australia and its ideas of cultural diversity." Just as challenging, for the migrants, was their arrival in a new country.
Left: Draga Williams, was a migrant from Serbia who went through Bonegilla. She is pictured with Bruce Pennay and an item of clothing she has donated to the Jindera Museum.
Hard copies of "So Much Sky' are available at the Albury Library Museum and the Bonegilla Migrant Experience Heritage Park. It is also available online.
The opening of a photographic exhibition of images and traces of German settlement in the southern Riverina, Echoes of the Past, Voices of the Future, drew a crowd of more than 50 people to the Albury Library Museum on Thursday, September 11.
The 30 stunning sepia images, taken by Institute archaeologist and cultural heritage manager A/Prof Dirk Spennemann (pictured, right) help tell the story of the many hardworking German farmers who left South Australia in the mid 1860s to select cheap farming land in the fertile Southern Riverina and establish communities at towns like Jindera, Gerogery, Walla Walla and Edge Hill.
The exhibition, a joint venture between ILWS and Albury City to celebrate History Week 2008, was opened by the leader of the Institute's Communications, Arts & Education discipline group Dr John Rafferty and the museum's team leader, collections & assets, Ms Pam Owen (pictured, left). It included a display of artefacts from the Jindera Museum.
About 40 people attended Dirk's public seminar at the museum on the following Saturday morning on the history of German settlement in the region. Dirk is intending to tour the exhibition to other towns settled by Germans in Australia.
The tiny hall at Wooragee near Beechworth in North East Victoria was packed to the brim with more than 130 people attending the launch of "Where are…the Barkers?" on September 5.
The short film, which was three years in the making, was produced by the Wooragee Landcare Group and is based on former ILWS PhD student Natasha Schedvin's research into barking owls in the North-East. The entertaining 37 minute docu-drama has been developed to appeal to a wide range of audiences including landholders, land managers and students of all ages. While the "star" of the film is Berry Barker, a local Barking Owl, the film also features Dr Schedvin, (now a wildlife ecologist at Healesville Sanctuary), local landholders and children.
It is intended to increase awareness and understanding of a little known or understood species and its habitat requirements in order to help secure its survival as a species. The film is the work of local film maker Jan Osmotherly and co-director Glen Scolfield. "I found Natasha's research on Barking Owls fascinating," said Jan. "I was surprised to discover we had our own rare species here for a start and then a bit alarmed to find that are not only endangered but declining because of continued loss of habitat, poor seasons and fire in our area."
Pictured L to R, Former ILWS PhD student Natasha Schedvin, co-director Glen Scholfield, ILWS supervisor A/Prof David Watson and film-maker Jan Osmotherly.
For copies of the DVD contact Glen Osfield on firstname.lastname@example.org . A four page information sheet is also available to accompany the DVD.
While many people find their first engagement with art or creative work as complex or inaccessible, the use of game-playing can allow anyone to become part of the creative process. Concrete Poetry is a new exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery (Saturday 14 June – Saturday 5 July, 2008) by Dr Andrew Keen, Associate Professor at the School of Visual and Performing Arts, CSU that offers a playful and engaging format accessible to children and adults alike and links the visual to the verbal experience.
Following its world premiere at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery , Concrete Poetry will be travelling to Queensland University of Technology and RMIT University in Melbourne , before heading overseas to the University of Westminster in London and the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana , Slovenia.
ILWS and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation hosted a public forum and workshop on the implications of diminishing international supplies of petroleum and the possibilities for biofuels industries in rural Australia on 12 and 13 March in Wagga.
Pictured left, Prof Peter Sinclair and right, Prof Julian Hine.
Speakers included, Prof Peter Sinclair an environmental sociologist and oil industry analyst at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, Dr Barrie May, a biofuel researcher from CSIRO Mt Gambier and author of "Biofuels in Australia: Issues and Prospects" (link to RIRDC site and executive summary of report) and Prof Julian Hine from the University of Ulster, UK.
Over 50 people attended the forum and 25 invited guests participated in the workshop to share understanding of the 'peak oil' issue and consider the most important implications of oil depletion and substitution. Questions including; How can rural communities adapt to increasing fuel costs and the potential for biofuel production? and How will the development of a biofuel industry affect investment, employment and the growth/decline of rural communities? were considered.
Pictured above, Prof Deirdre Lemerle and Dr Barrie May
Convenor A/Prof Ian Gray said groups including the Council of Social Services and EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation are keen to work together on collaborative research projects with details to be released soon. Prof Peter Sinclair's paper Peak Oil and Corporate Policy (PDF 1MB) is available here or visit his website www.ucs.mun.ca/~oilpower for more information.
Pictured L to R, Andrew Honan (Railway Technical Society Australia), Katherine Barlow (NSW Dept of Transport) and forum convenor A/Prof Ian Gray.
As part of his first public photographic exhibition on at the Albury Library Museum from Jan 11 to April 6, ecologist A/Prof David Watson gave a talk on the evening of February 11. A large crowd of more than 80 people listened appreciatively to David as he shared his experiences in tropical rainforests. David's research has taken him to 17 countries with an emphasis on central South America where he has spent a total of two years in the forests of Latin America studying its plants and animals. The audience also had the opportunity to view a wider selection of his amazing images than the 20 photographs on display. "Rainforests are by their very nature, dark, wet and secretive, and taking photographs is difficult," says David. "This exhibition is like a small window into that mysterious world through the eyes of a scientist."
The evening was introduced by Institute director Prof Max Finlayson who commented on David's success and skill in being able to photograph in forests where "the ground moves under you as you walk, you are always wet, and there are always ants crawling up your legs." The exhibition, hosted jointly by the Institute and Albury City, was, according to Max, an excellent example of how science and the community can engage.