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.
Mark is the independent chair of the Fish Habitat Partnership and has worked with the group since its inception in 2013. Mark has been involved with the NSW Oyster Industry for 30 years and has represented the Industry at all levels of Government. Mark also sits on the Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council for the Aquaculture Industry and is a Board member for the North Coast Local Land Services.
Liz Blair is a passionate, motivated and experienced NRM professional based in the North Tablelands region. She leads a team of staff to develop and deliver sustainable agriculture, travelling stock reserves and natural resource management programs for Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and works with Landcare at a local and regional level to integrate projects and achieve on-ground change and build resilience. Liz currently manages a team of staff to deliver the National Landcare Program and Catchment Action NSW, both of which have components where collaboration with Landcare has built stronger projects and better outcomes.
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.
Matt Cameron has worked in the field of natural resource management for more than 20 years, with an emphasis on threatened species conservation. Much of that time has been spent in central and western NSW, working in a range of environments on a wide variety of plants and animals. He is currently based in Albury, working for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Linda Cavanagh has lived and worked on properties in South West NSW for 25 years, promoting the symbiosis of agricultural productivity with thoughtful land management. With her husband and family, they manage a grazing property near Boorowa, with a keen interest to create sustainable agricultural practices in an unpredictable climatic environment. Linda believes that the Landcare community is relevant to primary producers now and into the future.
With a background in Agricultural Science and Holistic Management, Linda became involved with Landcare as a coordinator in 2016, first with Boorowa Community Landcare Group (BCLG) and then extending to include Hovells Creek Landcare Group (HCLG) in 2017.
Linda works with her Landcare committee, members and the community to build collaborative partnerships to support and promote biodiversity, community well-being, and productive landscapes. She sees her role to provide opportunities for networking and sharing of knowledge and experiences to address local needs on-farm, in schools and in the community.
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.
Perin has a background in government relations and issues management. For the past seven years, Perin has specialised in water policy including the Murray Darling Basin Plan and water market and water trade rules.
A former country journalist and media adviser to a Federal Senator, Perin has also worked in Canberra with an international government relations consultancy firm. She has worked with a wide range of clients on issues as diverse as single desk wheat marketing, food and drug approvals and copyright.
Paul Elton - Plenary speaker
Paul Elton commenced his career in the private sector and has since had 24 years’ experience working in portfolio and central agency roles with the NSW and Commonwealth governments. In the mid-2000s, Paul was Executive Director, Natural Resources and Economic Development Policy with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. He then spent four years working with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet supporting the COAG Reform Council.
In NSW, Paul has worked across numerous sectors. Throughout his career, Paul has had a significant focus on environmental protection and biodiversity conservation, including climate change policy, and the intersection of environmental policy with policy and programs in areas such as energy, resources, forestry, water management, infrastructure, land use planning and development assessment.
From 2012 to 2017, Paul was Executive Director Policy with the Office of Environment and Heritage. As part of this role, Paul led the development of the land management and biodiversity conservation reforms across government. He was instrumental in designing the role of the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT), the private land conservation program (PLC) and the biodiversity offsets scheme (BOS).
Josh Gilbert - Plenary speaker
Josh is a Worimi man who uses Indigenous wisdom and values, alongside his environmental and agricultural knowledge to shape modern society. Professionally, Josh works as a Manager with PwC’s Indigenous Consulting. Outside of this formal work, Josh is a tireless advocate, creating change in the Indigenous, agricultural and environmental fields.
Personally, Josh is committed to environmental outcomes and maintaining his family’s agricultural legacy. For his advocacy, he has recently been recognised as the Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s Young Sustainability Champion and the Foundation for Young Australians’ Local Legend Award.
Phillip Glyde joined the Murray–Darling Basin Authority as Chief Executive in January 2016. Previously, Phillip was a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, where he held a number of positions including within their research division – Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
A member of the Australian Public Service since 1980, Phillip has worked on natural resource management, industry and environmental policies in a number of Australian government departments including Prime Minister and Cabinet, Environment and Resources and Energy. Phillip has also spent some time working overseas including with the Environment Directorate of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris and the Cabinet Office and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the United Kingdom.
Nola has worked in various capacities within the Restoration Ecology, Ecological Restoration and Bush Regeneration industries for the past 17 years.
Since completing her PhD The role of plant provenance in restoration ecology under climate change, (accepted in 2013), Nola has worked at Macquarie University, Sydney, as a Post-doctoral Fellow on many projects within the Biodiversity Node of the NSW Adaptation
Research Hub: http://www.mq.edu.au/research/research-centres- groups-and-facilities/secure-planet/centres/climate-futures/biodiversity-node and as a Lecturer within the Biological Sciences Department.
Nola’s current research focuses on improving ecological restoration practices and biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change and she was recently lead author of Climate-ready Revegetation. A Guide for Natural Resource Managers. This new publication provides information on how to use on-line tools to gauge if existing vegetation (species and local populations) are likely to be sustainable as the climate changes (http://anpc.asn.au/resources/climate_ready_revegetation). Whilst restoration ecology under climate change is Nola’s focus, she also has an interest in the taxonomy of the Mallee species of the Murraylands in South Australia and recently self-published: Mallees of the Southern Mallee District of South Australia. A Ute Guide.
Jacqui Hickey grew up in Albury, on the banks of the River Murray before heading to Melbourne University to complete studies in environmental engineering. On graduation from university, Jacqui began her career in an engineering consultancy, gaining experience through exposure to water-related issues faced by rural landholders and communities across NSW and Victoria. After seven years she moved into water policy development and implementation for the Victorian Government, working on key projects such as the north Victorian irrigation modernisation and expansion of the water grid. In 2010, Jacqui relocated to Western Australia to manage surface water issues at Fortescue Metals. Earlier this year, she relocated to Canberra and took up the role of Director River Murray Operations at the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
Dr David Hunter
Dr David Hunter is a frog and reptile specialist who has been researching and managing threatened species populations for over 20 years. David currently works as a threatened species manager for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; his work includes leading recovery efforts on a range of threatened frog species including the corroboree frogs, spotted tree frog and the Booroolong frog. The effects of a changing climate have long been central to Dave’s research and planning for threatened species recovery.
Following a long career in NSW water reform, legislation, management and planning, Digby Jacobs joined the MDBA in July 2017 to oversee the Riparian Program. As the Riparian Director, Digby manages river works programs undertaken on the Mitta Mitta River, Upper Murray River and the Murray River below Hume Dam as well as the Lake Victoria Program and the Sir Richard Peninsula erosion management program. All of these programs are designed to improve the health, structure and stability of the riparian landscapes. Previously Digby worked on the NSW implementation of the Living Murray Infrastructure projects and provided technical assistance and engagement for aspects of the NSW development of Basin Plan projects.
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.
Jo Lenehan works in environmental water management (Lachlan River Valley) for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and lives on small acreage at Wyangala Dam. Jo has been collaborating with Aboriginal communities in Forbes and Lake Cargelligo on land and water management for the past three years, and was recently appointed Secretary of Lake Cargelligo Landcare Steering Committee. This partnership has proven to be a vital nexus for transitioning from relationship building to on-ground action where – through Aboriginal Landcare projects – we learn from each other by ‘doing’ together.
Nathan Lennon - Plenary speaker
Nathan Lennon is co-founder of Hawke’s Brewing Co., a beer company created in conjunction with former Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.
Previous to Hawke’s Brewing Co., Nathan was creative director at advertising agency, Droga5 New York, where he led the US launch of Toyota’s zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled vehicle, winning a prestigious D&AD “White Pencil for Good”. Nathan also led the repositioning of American brand, Honey Maid, as the first to truly stand up for the diversity of the modern family. Quoted as “the most progressive campaign of the decade”, the Honey Maid work also won the D&AD “White Pencil for Good” and was mentioned by President Obama during an address at the White House.
Nathan has extensive advertising experience in the US, UK and Australian markets, where he has led the work for high-profile Australian beer brands, James Boag’s, Hahn SuperDry and James Squire.
Nathan currently lives in Sydney, where he runs Hawke’s Brewing Co. alongside co-founder, Dave Gibson, and co-director, Luke Langton.
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.
Ian Lunt worked for more than 25 years as a research ecologist and university lecturer. Some years ago, he turned his attention to popular writing to reach new and broader audiences. He now works as a freelance writer and focuses on two types of work: (1) stories about how science is changing what we know about nature, and (2) stories about plants and animals and the people who work to save them.
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.
Kathryn McGuirk is currently the Chair of Boorowa Community Landcare. However, to reach that role she has been a Landcare advocate for the last 10 years. She and her husband inherited a degraded and St Johns Wort-infested property in 2006. She knew nothing about livestock and my husband was not keen to become a grazier. So Kathryn set about learning how to grow native plants as she made a personal goal to improve the landscape of their inheritance so that in the long-term their daughter would truly appreciate her inheritance. Kathryn’s learnings have included a wholesale nursery course at the Canberra Insitute of Technology, plus numerous holistic management, pasture management, weed and native plant identification and erosion control courses. She now manages a local native Landcare nursery and is keen to spread her love of growing native plants to others. She now knows a lot more about our native environment, but acknowledges that she’s got a lot more to learn.
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.
Anika Molesworth - Plenary Speaker
Anika splits her life between her family’s arid outback sheep station in Far Western NSW, PhD crop trials in Griffith, and lush green rice paddies in Southeast Asia working as a researcher in international agricultural development.
She was awarded the 2015 Young Farmer of the Year, 2017 NSW Finalist for Young Australian of the Year, and most recently the NSW Young Achiever Award for Environment and Sustainability.
Anika is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming, environmental conservation and climate change action. She helped founding Farmers for Climate Action and connects land managers to researchers through her platform Climate Wise Agriculture.
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.
Emma Stone has been involved in the Whian Whian Landcare group in Northern NSW for 10 years coordinating a range of Landcare projects over this time and has recently stepped into the role of Landcare Coordinator for the Border Ranges – Richmond Valley Landcare Network. Her passions stretch across the broad scope of Landcare including biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and resilient and connected rural communities. With a degree in Indigenous Studies and Sustainability, she also has a strong interest is supporting recognition for Indigenous cultural values and land management practices. Over the last five years, Emma has endeavored to engage her Landcare group in citizen science to enable a deeper inquiry into the effectiveness of their Landcare efforts.
Lynne Strong - Plenary speaker
Lynne is a proud sixth-generation farmer who was drawn to dairying after a career as a pharmacist. With husband Michael and son Nicholas, Lynne managed multi-award- winning Clover Hill Dairies at Jamberoo on the NSW South Coast. Lynne’s role as the powerhouse behind the business has seen her win some of agriculture’s most prestigious awards, including the inaugural Bob Hawke Landcare Award, the National Landcare Primary Producer Award, as well as being both a
Eureka Prize and Banksia Award finalist. Lynne is no longer involved in the running of the farm but is fierce in her commitment to the development of agriculture through its young people. She sees herself as a catalyst for change and a connector. She wants to inspire and engage young leaders so they can be changemakers themselves.
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”.