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Diversity - Creating It!

diversity: creating it! - our presenters

Brian Parker Supervisor Parks & Gardens - Blayney Shire Council

Brian Parker
Supervisor Parks & Gardens - Blayney Shire Council

Brian Parker

Brian Parker has served on Blayney Shire Council for over 30 years working in the Parks Department and progressed to Supervisor in 1997. He has grown and developed his career as a Horticulturist completing Advanced Certificates in Urban Horticulture and Bush Regeneration.
Brian manages much of the natural landscape throughout the shire and has been involved in many environmental projects with a number of organisations regarding natural resource management. These include Planet Ark, Green Army, Conservation Volunteers, Local Land Services, Rotary International, Local Schools, Landcare, NSW Fisheries, NSW Environmental Trust, Orange Aboriginal Land Council and others.
He has designed and project managed the construction of Blayney’s Adventure Playground, receiving a State and a National (Parks and Leisure) award in 2008. Brian had a major role in the Blayney Urban Wetland constructed during 2000 and continues to manage it.
Brian manages Council’s street trees & open spaces, sporting fields, playgrounds, community education, and cemeteries.

Presentation: Live and Let Die: managing EEC in an active cemetery

The Challenge: allowing endangered plants to live as people die and continue to be buried.

Brian Parker will be discussing some of the methods that he has adopted to enhance and improve the cemetery precincts throughout the Blayney Shire over the last 30 years. Cemeteries are emotional places that Blayney Shire Council are obligated to maintain to a high standard so that the community can farewell their loved ones and visit to reflect upon the lives that their relatives and friends once lead.

These special places are also, where some of the best EEC remain in another wise highly modified landscape. The discussion will take us on a journey from a brief history through to current management practices and on into the future with some ideas that may seem a bit radical but will value add and hopefully continue to build community relationships with education and information.

There are many opportunities to be gained by thinking outside of the box. Council may be able to seize these opportunities to not only preserve EEC but also regenerate the biodiversity into other sites while generating income and expanding a better business model for cemeteries generally. 

Dr Geoffrey Kay   Senior Projects Officer, Programs Branch - NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust      
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Dr Geoffrey Kay
Senior Projects Officer, Programs Branch - NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust

Joel Little   Environmental Officer - Bathurst Regional Council

Joel Little
Environmental Officer - Bathurst Regional Council

Dr Geoffrey Kay

Dr. Geoffrey Kay has spent the past 15 years working on the interface between agriculture (and other industries like forestry) and biodiversity conservation. A research ecologist with a background in biodiversity monitoring and market-based tools for supporting Government-led Private Land Conservation, Geoff has a very keen interest in the role that large-scale transboundary Private Land Conservation programs play in enhancing our natural and cultural farming systems.
Geoff is currently a Senior Project Officer at the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, where he is leading the development of the Trust’s (i) principle evaluation mechanism guiding a $240 million investment into Private Land Conservation (a reverse-auction conservation tender metric), and (ii) state-wide biodiversity monitoring, evaluation and reporting program.
In addition to decades working in South-eastern Australia, Geoff has developed extensive experience working in other systems including in Central and Northern Australia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Greenland and Antarctica.

Presentation: Glow-in-the-dark geckos reveal ways to enhance connectivity of fragmented agricultural landscapes

Tackling the global threat of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity requires knowledge of how species move within agricultural landscapes. However, the specific mechanisms influencing dispersal within such landscapes remain poorly understood. The objective of our study was to assess how matrix type (improved pasture, native pasture or crop) and structure (grass height) influence fine-scale reptile movement, as well as influences of crop sowing direction and setting-sun position. In an agricultural region of south-eastern Australia, we first released 20 individuals of an arboreal gecko (Christinus marmoratus) at set distances from trees to determine the distance at which they could perceive their tree habitat (perceptual range). We then translocated 36 individuals into six matrix environments within their perceptual range of isolated trees to examine how gecko movement was modified by the type and structure of the matrix. We also recorded crop sowing direction and setting-sun position and examined all recorded tracks using angular statistics. We found that geckos exhibited a perceptual range of 40–80m. Short matrix environments promoted direct movements towards trees, irrespective of matrix type. Furthermore, movements were significantly affected by crop sowing direction with individuals following the planted lines. Our study has three significant implications: (i) restoring mature tree spacing to 80 m apart will assist gecko movements, (ii) targeted management for low pasture height, such as by maintaining directional narrow strips of low vegetation among taller pastures, might assist movement and facilitate increased connectivity, (iii) directional sowing of crops between habitat patches presents a simple but potentially effective tool for reconnecting fragmented landscapes.

Joel Little

Joel has worked at Bathurst Regional Council for 10 years in a role that has wide ranging responsibilities including environmental compliance and impact assessment, community education, sustainability and urban wildlife management. Prior to this, Joel was employed in wildlife conservation programs across southern Australia and to this day maintains a voluntary management committee role with the Australian Ecosystems Foundation. Having a degree in Environmental Science, Joel considers some of his career highlights to be the reintroduction of endangered Eastern Quoll and Eastern Barred Bandicoot into protected habitat in Victoria, coordinating the planting of 20,000 native seedlings in suburban Bathurst reserves and the recent installation of the Tesla electric vehicle Supercharger in Bathurst. His wife criticises him for not being able to sit still, and therefore together they have bought a 67 hectare bushland property and, in their spare time, manage it for conservation, dingo breeding and ecotourism.

Presentation: Backyards for Wildlife

Bathurst Regional Council is the land manager for large parcels of land across the city landscape and therefore can influence how these are managed for the benefit of biodiversity. But what about the large tracts of housing land in between? Council can lead by example but how can we help home owners to create their own backyards for wildlife and further increase habitat available for native animal species? Through learning what residents want to see in their backyard and what they already know, a program was created that sought to build capacity and knowledge, increase native species planting and create support to ensure ongoing implementation into the future. The Bathurst Backyards for Wildlife program builds upon some basic principles of creating urban and suburban habitats and supports this through printed and online resources, community events, nestbox construction, tree planting, citizen science programs and introduced species management.

Dr Laura Rayner Woodland Fauna Ecologist, Environmental Offsets - Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate Visiting fellow - The Australian National University

Dr Laura Rayner
Woodland Fauna Ecologist, Environmental Offsets - Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate
Visiting fellow - The Australian National University

Tim Hosking Acting Senior Environmental Water Planner - NSW Office of Environment & Heritage

Tim Hosking
Acting Senior Environmental Water Planner - NSW Office of Environment & Heritage

dr Laura rayner

Dr Laura Rayner is a Woodland Fauna Ecologist working with the Environmental Offsets team of the ACT Government. She has worked in temperate woodland ecosystems for over 10 years with a focus on biodiversity monitoring for the planning and evaluation of conservation interventions.
As a member of the Difficult Bird Research Group, Laura was responsible for the design and implementation of the National Regent Honeyeater Monitoring Program, which in 2017 located over 60% of the estimated population of this rare and critically endangered species.
Laura has a particular interest in tree hollow ecology and is involved in a long-term study of fragmentation effects on the growth, structure and habitat values of Central West woodlands (NSW). In her most recent work, Laura has taken to the tree-tops to study the breeding ecology of the Superb Parrot. In her presentation, she will discuss conservation challenges and opportunities for the beautiful ‘Green Leek’ and explain how her research will enhance recovery planning for the species.

Presentation: Safeguarding a superb future

Climate change, tree decline, nest competition, vehicle strike – the superb parrot must overcome multiple and intensifying threats on its path to recovery. In this talk, I will describe how the ACT Government and the Australian National University are working together to gather critical breeding and movement data to inform conservation planning across environmental offsets, nature reserves and urban greenspace in fast growing Canberra.

Tim hosking

Tim Hosking is a Senior Wetlands and Rivers Conservation Officer at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. His team’s primary role in Dubbo is to work towards the conservation of iconic inland wetland systems, particularly the Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir wetlands, with the key tool being environmental water management. With a broad academic and work history including environmental engineering, natural resources management, environmental impact assessment and town planning, he quite enjoys the silo-busting world of water and wetlands. Hanging out in swamps is not a bad job for this tragic lifelong birdo.

Presentation: Use of monitoring and research to inform active water management for the environment in the Macquarie Catchment with a focus on the Macquarie Marshes

Monitoring and research plays a big role in a number of facets of managing the active environmental water assets in the regulated Macquarie River.   Firstly, it informs the many considerations of the Macquarie-Cudgegong Environmental Flows Reference Group (EFRG) in their grass-roots level recommendations to government about the use of environmental water.  The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) uses scientific information to implement the endorsed recommendations of the EFRG in an effective and efficient way.  Additionally, a range of scientific information is currently being used by NSW OEH to develop a Long-Term Watering Plan for the catchment.  This talk will touch on the science used, how we use it and lessons learnt over the 38-year history of active environmental water management in the catchment.  Tim Hosking is part of the NSW OEH environmental water and floodplains team, based in Dubbo.