A week of workshops

Last week was a very busy week for me.  Monday is usually my “management day”, and on Tuesday I did some more interesting work at the WA Museum.  I’ll blog about that work in the near future.

Then it was the start of a few very full-on days of workshops.

Wednesday was a workshop centered around our work on the South-West Australia Ecoregion Initaitve (SWAEI) project (see our relevant project page) , where we have started revising the huge amount of work we did last year in producing a Systematic Conservation Plan for the south-west biodiversity hotspot.  World Wildlife Fund, one of the co-chairs of the project, recently released this news article about the kick-off of the 2010 phase.

Mel and I attended the SWAEI Wednesday workshop which was all about land tenure, and how we could use tenure and ownership datasets like cadastre, land use, planning zones and the like.  From a data perspective, this was interesting for me – we work in the environmental area, but to get experts in the room that knew the planning and land ownership laws in Western Australia so well, you can’t help but learn something.

The SWAEI Thursday workshop (again, Mel and I went to that one) was a review day, where we looked at the 2009 results and the way it went, and really took the whole project apart, reviewed it, and put it back together again.  We got some excellent feedback from the experts involved – and they were very forthcoming of their knowledge.  Like the expert workshops in 2009, I learned a lot.  Most importantly, the new version of the results that will be produced in the near future will be even better than last year’s one.

Both Wednesday and Thursday were hosted at the Western Australian Ecology Centre in Bold Park – which was a great venue.  We even were treated with a visit from a pretty large Carnaby’s Cockatoo flock on Thursday afternoon, much to the delight of some of our interstate visitors.

Thursday night I had to jump on a plane to get to Sydney, to attend the Atlas of Living Australia user-centered design focus group at the Australian Museum.  I had had to miss the focus group in Melbourne on Thursday, but Tom has been involved in this project as well, so he’s been at both.  So, after a couple of hours sleep, I met up with the group on Friday and listened to people say what they wanted in the citizen science space.  It was inspirational to hear from our “customers” – and I’ve got a great big list of things to follow up on next week.  Just in the introductions I heard of 21 different citizen science projects and initiatives from ten people!  One of the other interesting suggestions was to revisit the “citizen science” phrase (too loaded with connetations – and too “American”) – so if you’ve got any ideas, please write in our comments section below.

I pretty much collapsed on Friday night, but spent the weekend in Sydney, where I finished up with an absolute “fit” of Tweets on Sunday arvo, while I was in the Qantas lounge waiting for my flight.  I had so much to do, I figured I’d hole up in the lounge (using up my once-a-year invitiation) and get through some of the backlog.  It seemed to work, although I do think perhaps I overuse Twitter…

Anyway, it was a very interesting and inspirational week – so much to get on and do this week!

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