Most places I have visited during my Churchill Fellowship have been amazing and inspiring, but one has really challenged me…
Posts from the ‘leadership’ Category
What to call a place that uniquely honours gardeners that lost their lives in World War One?
Sometimes leadership refers to committees for answers, and sometimes there is no choice, with heritage and government departments providing no options. Occasionally however, land tenure, ownership, bureaucracy and process can be separated from the creative influencers that drive inspirational projects, resulting in an enticing name being found – encouraging visitors, viewers, actors, and restorationists alike…
So arriving in London in *hot* weather was a bit alarming, everyone was complaining about the heat. Our only challenge was that we packed for the stereotypical English weather and not the outlier…
In big cities open spaces for the community are premium property. With everyone stacked-up on each other in apartments and terraced houses, the slightest sunshine brings everyone into the parks for their dose of open space and fresh air.
I have often reflected that the European landscape has such a long history of being used primarily for agriculture, and that that must have meant that today’s custodians with their ever-growing appreciation for lost biodiversity, might treat every remaining biodiversity and landscape asset as being worth a lot more than we do in Australia (where we still have much to lose – despite the worst extinction rate for our unique mammals ON THIS PLANET).
When I visited Europe for the first time on a break from my PhD in the early 2000’s, I was struck by a particular feature of the agricultural landscape in France. There is not a spare square metre. Every metre is used for production…
So I am channeling Seinfeld now – “I can’t spare a square”…
Great to be able to share some exciting news – I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to the UK and explore the ins-and-outs of some of the most amazing conservation and community engagement projects in the world.
In later years of Winston Churchill’s life he was engaged significantly with the natural landscape, especially through his painted artworks.
I am most grateful and very excited to be able to experience first-hand some internationally renowned conservation initiatives.
My sense is that there is ALWAYS more to learn: I am particularly looking forward to meeting like-minded people and exploring sites, programs and facilities that can help shape the future of our equally exciting projects in Canberra and elsewhere in Australia.
While Europe has a longer history of environmental degradation than Australia, it also has a longer history of successful conservation programs and organisations.
In July-August next year (2017) I hope to visit organisations and sites as diverse as the Eden Project (their photos above), the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (including London and Slimbridge Wetlands Centres), Trees for Life, the Canal and River Trust, and the Borders Forest Trust. I have begun the process of reaching out to these and some other amazing organizations to seek an invitation… fingers crossed.
These and other Trusts in the United Kingdom can provide insights into the right mixes of legislative, policy, business operations, partnership, land tenure, science and community support arrangements that enable the establishment of long-term and secure funding arrangements for biodiversity conservation in Australia. This project will help better-inform the Australian conservation community about more efficient models that can add-value to existing government- and community-lead public good programs.
Thanks to the Churchill Trust for the opportunity, and to the referees who supported my application – Tony Peacock, Alison Russell-French, Peter Davey and [then Environment…] Minister Greg Hunt.
Of course I look forward to sharing my experience and insights gained for the betterment of biodiversity conservation in Australia…
For 23 years ‘Operation Bounceback’ has been fighting feral animals in the Flinders Ranges. Imagine seeking an annual budget for the same project 23 times! That takes vision, commitment, determination, quality and the support of about 10 different Ministers.
At the 20 year celebration, it was highlighted ‘SA Government, staff, volunteers, landholders and local communities work together to reverse some of the impacts of the last 150 years’, and by the logos on the report cover, the Australian Government is probably also a partner-organisation.
It is a classic example of a trusted partnership for conservation.
Controlling foxes has been a priority since 1993 and Grasswrens, Pythons and the Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby are already benefiting. The current fox-baiting effort covers 5,500 km2.
Twenty years of feral animal control has laid a platform for the reintroduction of long-lost species. After an amazing Ecological Society of Australia conference I was lucky enough to get up to the Flinders Ranges and briefly check-out the reintroduction projects for the Western Quoll and Brushtail Possum…