Speaker & presenter bios
Neil is the Environmental Projects Manager for the Ricerowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) He joined the RGA team in 2008 as the Murray Regional Coordinator for the Environmental Champions Program and since that time has worked on a range of projects including The Bitterns in Rice Project, the On Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program and the Environmental Champions Program. Today Neil manages a range of Environmental Projects for the RGA.
Prior to commencing his tenure with the RGA Neil owned and operated irrigation and dryland farm businesses in the Deniliquin area, his farm management involved the implementation of sustainable land management practices and biodiversity enhancement projects.
Neil holds an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture and has training in Project Management and Facilitation.
Senior Land Services Officer – North Coast Local Lands Services
Nigel Blake has worked in the NRM field for 30 years. The last 22 of those have been on the North Coast of NSW, an area of incredible biodiversity and natural wonders. Nigel is currently employed by Local Lands Services in Grafton where he hopes to reside until retirement when he can leave government and is free to finally join Landcare.
Mel has worked at Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare (CHRL) for the last two years, moving into the position of Landcare Coordinator in February 2017. In her time with CHRL, she has assisted in the day-to-day support of the organisation’s many volunteers (approximately 300) and managed a number of small restoration projects on both public and private land. She has recently taken over the management of the Blueberry project and will continue working with the Blueberry growers to ensure good environmental outcomes on their farms.
Prior to moving to Coffs Harbour to raise a family, Mel worked for Greening Australia in Sydney for eight years, project managing various vegetation restoration projects mainly in Western Sydney. She has a Bachelor of Science in Urban Horticulture from UTS and a Masters in Agriculture from the University of Sydney.
Janelle Jenkins is a Senior Land Services Officer (Mixed Farming Systems) with the Riverina Local Land Services (LLS) based at Tumut. Ms Jenkins has extensive experience in agronomy and Natural Resource Management in the medium and high rainfall zones. Ms Jenkins has worked for the Riverina LLS for more than 10 years in both management and on-ground roles. Prior to that she was an extension agronomist with NSW DPI located at Albury and Taree. Ms Jenkins has extensive experience in pastures having done this as part of her role in assessing paddocks for inclusion in incentive funding. She has worked extensively in multidisciplinary teams having worked with LLS land resource management while employed by NSW DPI and then facilitated cooperative research and development between the two organisations while working with LLS.
Bush Regenerator – Muurrbay Bundani Aboriginal Corporation (MBAC)
Jen commenced bush regeneration training and working for MBAC in March 2017 on Grafton Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council land. She has totally enjoyed the work and the opportunity to learn about hands-on environmental management both theory and practice.
Siwan has been working in natural resources management for the past 20 years, focusing on research and science communication for river management, as well as developing future leaders. In 2008, she undertook a Winston Churchill Trust Fellowship to investigate the feasibility of establishing an Australian River Restoration Centre (ARRC), an organisation she went on to establish. As part of the not-for profit-ARRC, she manages the successful Rivers of Carbon initiative which is working with Landcare groups to protect and restore riparian areas across the Southern Tablelands of NSW.
When not out on the river working with local communities, Siwan is developing leaders through the Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Program, as well as running the Waterway Management Twinning Mentoring Program and facilitating team-building workshops. She lives in Canberra with her husband Tom and son Finn. Her favourite pastimes are singing, camping, kayaking and enjoying great conversations with friends.
Angela is a Land Services Officer (Community) with Greater Sydney Local Land Services. She originally started working at the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority over seven years ago. Her work with the CMA/LLS has included natural resource management, community engagement and working as a Sydney Metro Regional Landcare Facilitator. Prior to this Angela worked in Local Government in waste and sustainability education for over 10 years. She recently finished working on “Sustainable land management for Sydney-based absentee landholders”, a two-year project funded by an Environmental Trust Environmental Education grant. Her presentation is about this project, how it came about, and ideas for engaging with typically hard-to-reach absentee landholders.
David Mitchell is trained in soil science and surface hydrology. He joined NSW Agriculture in 1992, undertaking soil physical research, as well as CSIRO Townsville undertaking a PhD in surface hydrology before returning to NSW Agriculture as a research officer and continuing a variety of soil and water research roles. He has led several large multidisciplinary research projects, specifically the Key Sites project. Key Sites is a state-wide project studying the various ways dryland salinity is expressed and the subsequent on farm management actions that can be taken to mitigate or reverse the effects of dryland salinity.
Luke is currently employed as a Fisheries Manager for the Greater Murray region with the Aquatic Ecosystems Unit within NSW DPI Fisheries based at Albury. He has been employed by DPI Fisheries since 2005, and has been in his current or similar role since 2006. Luke has been employed in various natural resource management roles since 1999. He has a Bachelor of Environmental Science, completed at the University of Canberra in 1999 and has recently completed a research Masters in the Conservation management of southern pygmy perch in NSW in the context of climatic extremes and alien species.
He is married with three young boys, aged 8, 5 and 3 years old. He grew up on a family farm in the Tumut region, and has a love for the outdoors, fishing and particularly hiking and fishing in remote areas. Luke has a deep passion for our threatened native fish and their recovery, particularly the smaller species of less notoriety.
Tracey is the CEO of the Little River Landcare Group. She has extensive experience in natural resource management with 20 years of working in conservation management, rural and social development and project management in South Africa, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. Tracey’s passion lies in developing novel approaches to challenges we experience in the space where people and the environment meet. Tracey has been responsible for developing projects with clear land-user benefits and tangible biodiversity outcomes such as the Food Security and Agribusiness Project and the Eastern Cape Biodiversity Stewardship Program in South Africa. She enjoys the complexity of working in multi-stakeholder environments, is committed to effecting lasting impacts on biodiversity, the environment and the profitability of the farming businesses of group members. Tracey holds a Masters’ Degree in Environmental Science and has a strong interest in environmental psychology.
Doris grew up in North East Victoria with a family whose lives featured a fair amount of interaction with blackberries – beating them back from the family farm, negotiating through them, eating a few – and regularly hearing from her father about the bane of his existence as a Forestry Commission worker: blackberries.
After a career in the public service in project leadership roles, Doris and her partner have moved out to Mitta Mitta, where they aspire to be retired – rather than just tired. That is, after they have sorted out the blackberries on their own small block. Doris is convinced this will never happen until the seed beds on surrounding land are gone – and that will only happen if we succeed in developing an effective biocontrol program. Doris is Secretary of the Mitta to Murray Blackberry Action Group and the Mitta Valley Landcare Group, and Project Leader for M2MGAG’s Ecological Solutions initiative.
Landcare Coordinator – Clarence Landcare Inc.
Debbie has been working in the field of natural resource management (NRM) and environmental education & extension for 26 years. She has worked for Clarence Landcare in Grafton for 21 years and works with Landcare Groups, the wider community, landholders and managers including farmers, Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Council, Local Lands Services, Crown Lands and National Parks.
Kylie has worked with the Fish Habitat Partnership since its inception in 2013, when various representatives from the range of fish habitat interests and stakeholders came to realise that their voice on a shared issue was together more influential than separately. Kylie is currently the acting Executive Officer for the group, while in her spare time she works as the Senior Fisheries Manager, Coastal Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation with DPI Fisheries.
Bush Regenerator – Muurrbay Bundani Aboriginal Corporation (MBAC)
Khy is a Gumbaynggirr man and has worked for MBAC for over 4 years as a bush regenerator on Grafton Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council land and contract work for Clarence Landcare. He has also been involved in a team rounding up wild brumbies, wild dog monitoring, fencing and tree lopping. All this work keeps Khy close to Country and he takes great pride in his work.
Guy is currently an agronomist working in Central NSW for the past four years, mainly with broad-acre crops and pastures. He has been involved in ag consultancy, fertiliser design, development and manufacture for the past 18 years, with a focus on soil carbon and the role of micro-organisms in plant and soil health. For the first 10 years of his career, Guy ran a farm at Condobolin, developing a passion about ag sustainability and finding ways agriculture can play its role in climate change mitigation. He presented at the 2016 COP22 International Climate Change Summit in Marrakesh Morocco last November. He was also the winner of the 2017 TED X Fast Ideas event in Sydney, with the climate change mitigation idea of taking carbon from the air and transferring it into the soil to help empower farmers to become “carbon capturing climate superheroes”.