I recently attended the annual WA Landcare Network (WALN) Members and Stakeholders Forum, held at the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre. Its theme this year was ‘Our New Landcare: Into the 2020s’. Some 100 Landcarers from across the State came to network, share information and identify future actions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Landcare in WA, and I thought it best to try to capture some of the highlights from the talks.
Marie Taylor welcomed us with a spirited and compassionate message of sharing and caring for country.
The opening address, by the Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture & Food, the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, was forthright and announced that she was working to ensure $7.5M as a recurring item in the State budget for the State Natural Resources Management Office, who administer the grants rounds where this can be applied for (which just closed on Monday).
Hon. Alannah MacTiernan updating the audience on her work supporting the Landcare community
Some of the other highlights included:
- Dr Nic Dunlop from the Conservation Council WA presented ‘A Citizen Science Model for Measuring NRM Outcomes’, asking the question — ‘how do we measure project success?’ He also discussed the use of birds as a surrogate for vegetation health, and the use of adaptive management methods.
- Jo Ludbrook from Coastcare in the Southwest & Peel regions (CoastSWaP) presented their work and was one of a number of people who discussed their agencies use of the NACC software ‘Photomon‘ which helps photographically monitor landscape change over time.
- Dr. Guy Boggs from WA’s Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI) gave a thought-provoking look at their take on ‘Linking Science and Research with Onground Action’.
Guy discussing Research – Policy Relations in his talk
During the day I spoke with many friendly and committed people with great ideas, motivations and projects. If there was one message I took from this was that in an environment with increasing need for action yet reduced funding, there is an even greater need for efficiency. This would perhaps best come from comprehensive community access to shared, reliable, current information on the environment and the people and projects working across the land – something we have been working towards with GRID, our easy-to-use online GIS for the natural resource management community, as well as other citizen science projects.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you with developing project data management, citizen science programs or how a smartphone app could improve your community engagement and scientific data capture, then please leave a comment below, start a chat with us via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or email me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.