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Introducing the New Land for Wildlife Coordinator

— by Caragh

Kate Stevens, the new Land for Wildlife coordinator (Image: C. Appleby)

Hi everyone, my name’s Kate, the new Land for Wildlife & Garden for Wildlife Central Australia Coordinator. I join the team here at Low Ecological Services with a background in landscape ecology and [basic!] landscape genetics from a few dedicated years at Deakin University. Ensconced in my heavy bias toward, and love of, the Australian bush and landscapes, I am a bit of an amateur bird nut and spent several years researching the effects of habitat loss on the ecological and genetic processes of the Grey-crowned Babbler as part of my PhD. While I undertook my field work in Central and Northern Victoria, I am so happy to be within ‘cooee’ of the northern race (Pomatostomus temporalis rubeculus) of these engaging birds as their population range incorporates Central Australia and Alice Springs.

During my studies I undertook some teaching and demonstration work for Environmental Science courses at Deakin Uni which assisted to keep my student funds afloat. However, following completion of my Doctorate, this opportunity turned into a more serious career choice for a couple of years. I really enjoyed engaging and supporting both local and International tertiary students (up to 40 Chinese students this year), and being privy to witness their passion and enthusiasm for learning about environmental systems and the governing and policy-making processes that our Governments’ use to oversee management of the environment.

My true passion however, lies in community engagement and the environment. While I have many years of experience in community engagement from employment positions in and outside of Government, the reason I undertook environmental science studies in 2006, finishing with a PhD in 2016 (how did that happen?!) was to purposefully marry my two passions into a career… somehow.

Cutting a long story short, a ‘chance conversation’ at the Alice Springs Running Festival in mid-August this year led me to apply for the position of Land for Wildlife Coordinator with Low Ecological Services. A month later… I am wishing my husband, dog and bird farewell, undertaking a 4 day road-trip from Kyabram in Victoria pulling my house behind me (a first), and here I am in Alice ready for work!

Caragh Heenan, the previous Land for Wildlife Coordinator, is still working with us a day a week, but off-site. Caragh has done an extraordinarily efficient and effective job of having left the position in the most manageable and professional state possible. I feel extremely lucky to be afforded such a comprehensive handover. I am sure you are already aware of Caragh’s amazing capacity to get things done, follow things up, tie up loose ends and be an engaging and motivated coordinator to boot. From the members and [new] coordinator of Land for Wildlife, Central Australia, and our host Low Ecological Services, thank you Caragh for your huge efforts that have benefited not just us, but ultimately Alice Springs environments and wildlife. My aim in my new role as the Land for Wildlife coordinator, is to take up the baton that Caragh has handed to me, and follow her shining example of engaging, supporting, motivating and educating interested members and non-members alike, of the benefits of maintaining and increasing habitat values on their land for the benefit of our beautiful local wildlife, and to better the state of our beloved planet. Every LITTLE bit helps a BIG bit.

Since I’m new to Land for Wildlife and Alice Springs, please come say hello if you see me around. I will be keeping up appearances at the usual places such as EcoFair, the Alice Springs show and presenting my PhD research for Low Ecological Services sometime at one of the regular Rangelands Seminars held at Charles Darwin Uni. Keep an eye out in our upcoming newsletters, or on our Facebook page, as to where and when I am out and about next. I will also endeavour to be meeting with members for a ‘hello cuppa’ ad hoc, as well as purposeful undertakings of biodiversity assessments and reassessments on their properties. I very much look forward to meeting you soon!

~ Kate Stevens

Kate Stevens (Image C. Appleby)