A new uplifting regional legacy

Video: three decades of natural resource management in south east Queensland in 4 seconds.

Today could have been like any other day. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was a warmer than usual Spring day and people just went about their day. But today wasn’t like any other day. Because today marked a milestone for south east Queensland’s environment – a strategic planning day for the newly formed Healthy Waterways and Catchments. 

Now for some context: A few months ago there was a historic merge between SEQ Catchments and Healthy Waterways to form Healthy Waterways and Catchments. A new natural resource management organisation to drive and lead natural resource management in south east Queensland.  What that means is that in south east Queensland we now have one ‘organisation’ to lead transformational, cutting-edge research and practice for the care, protection and management of the natural environment (and not just south east Queensland, as it can go international). Bascially, we have a pretty sweet deal, imagine a two-for-one deal, as we have merged two leading organisations into one. There are a whole bunch of reasons why this happened which could make this tangent go for years as it did. But what you really need to know is that there is no doubt that the new company will be a game changer and ice-breaker for south east Queensland’s natural environment.

Lining up to pledge our support for the future direction of Healthy Waterways and Catchments.

Lining up to pledge our support for the future direction of Healthy Waterways and Catchments.

Cracking jokes. There champions are funny!

Cracking jokes. These champions are funny!

Birds eye view of the champions

Birds eye view of the champions

Tea, coffee, coloured pens, play dough... we have got this!

Tea, coffee, coloured pens, play dough… we have got this!

Some ultra cool future ideas. Did someone say Instagreen?

Some ultra cool future ideas. Did someone say Instagreen?

Time to be creative: our future where the environment is everything.

Time to be creative: our future where the environment is everything.

Now for some inside inspiration: I feel extremely privileged to have been part of the merge and now the cultural change to create the personality, vision and future of Healthy Waterways and Catchments. For a moment I sat back , closed my eyes and took in a deep breath so I could remember the experience. I needed a moment to myself to remember that this was actually happening and that I was there contributing to the future of Healthy Waterways and Catchments. I must add I was there alongside and with 80 or so other champions who bought nothing else to the table other than energy, passion and commitment to create an exciting new culture and future for the new organisation.

There were some laughs, sighs and challenges, but most of all  future-focused tech-savvy, institutional-changing, market-based ideas that will no doubt transform the way we manage our natural resources and most of all communicate it to the world.

At my table, we spoke about how the environment needs to hold us for it to become the core value for everyone in south east Queensland. Technology and real-time information will be lifeline for the lifeblood of our region, and to also turn the tide on the ignorance is bliss. Because ignorance is not bliss.

At the end of the meeting there was a deep consensus for the change (I am saying change instead of merge),  which left me uplifted and excited about the future we now to get to live.

Congratulations to the team behind today’s meeting. I am 200% behind Healthy Waterways and Catchments to take the lead for the future of south east Queensland’s environment. Looking forward to seeing the outcomes of today’s meeting.

Raise your hand

Raise Your Hand Please

Raise Your Hand Please

There is no doubt that I read a lot into what I see. This helps me ground truth ideas or perhaps seek other opinions to challenge my thoughts. Either way, it helps me gather evidence to make decisions and overcome my scatter-of-a-brain thought processes.  To this effect and for this tangent I started reading into motivation, specifically, self-motivation and how self-motivated people make the perfect team players for projects for change.

Because there I was  literally an hour ago sitting on the couch catching up with my flatmate watching a reality TV show that we have somehow become obsessed with. At the same time I was scrolling through my inbox and saw a promising email about a future project, a big project, that I would say was initially my idea, but now it is also someone else’s and it’s happening. The timeline and networks have been thought out and we have started the roadmap for another change making project – literally, in one conversation and one email.

About 5minutes later I followed up on another change making project opportunity. An organisation I volunteer for called Responsible Runners has some funding to reward volunteers. The first thing that came to my mind was an epic clean beaches party at Burleigh Heads. I put my feelers out and to this effect, an 80% success rate bounced back in next to no time with people and organisations self-nominating themselves to be part of it. Date, done. Location, done. Wording for flyer, done. Flyer design getting organised, done…  another project done in one Facebook message.

You have got to love technology in the palm of our hands to create change. However, you have got to be in love with self-motivated team players who make the change happen. Why? Because self-motivated team players are the secret to successful projects for change. Why?

  • They are very productive
  • Results driven
  • High levels of efficiency, so waste less time
  • Outperform
  • Continuous learners
  • Problem solvers
  • Intrinsically motivated
  • Complete tasks with minimal input
  • Don’t require extra rewards

I swear this has been my secret to success over the last couple of months with the number of projects on the go. I even have one of my mentors and PhD supervisors blogging about my thesis topic. People often ask me how I seem to manage so much, and what I say is that it’s definitely not all me. It’s the teams of self-motivated people who self-nominate for these epic change making projects. Everyone who is part of the teams I am involved in are essentially self-motivated individuals. It just takes for someone to see their motivation and capitalise on what they are offering (illusionary leadership).

Illusionary leadership can wait for another tangent as I have to finished the self-motivated, self-nominated submission I am driving for the Australian Government’s review on the National Landcare Programme…

Magic meets mentorship


This is what happens when magic meets mentorship. Accepting the Manpower National Young Landcare Leader award.

Despite spring’s less intense oceanic processes with seasonal lake-like calmer waves, energy remains high as earlier sunrises and the seeding of dune plants remind me that summer is approaching and should I scarily share the sense of squeezing every dream and idea that I had envisioned for 2016 out of me. What a year it has been, pumped and it is still pumping.

Last week my impression, expression and expectation for life aligned with taking out the Manpower National Young Landcare Leader award with Ella Maesepp. I am pretty stoked, believe me.

Now I am back home and back to reality of balancing work, Phd, volunteering and finding true love, reflection is a high priority. Reflection gives me access to recalibrate myself to envision where to from here. When you are living a life you love it is important to seek feedback to stay gracious and grounded.

All this didn’t happen overnight. It has been a journey, in fact 10 years. This season marks my 10th year of volunteering in the environmental sector and in particular, with Landcare. It feels like it was only yesterday when I met Dave Hopman, one of the most inspiring leaders in my community who inspired me up to plant trees for life. His words echo my beating heart everyday to strive to live in a world where environmental justice happens without the struggles of advocacy, activism and action.

He said…

“It is up to you what you want to do with you life, why not create a masterpiece. That is what we are doing out here, planting a masterpiece as nature is a true artist” – Dave Hopman

How’s that for my first impression of Landcare? And you wouldn’t believe that I bumped into him last night while walking my dog. Life is aligned. He was stoked as I shared my award-winning news.

Now for expression. What was going through my head when I was awarded the award was, wow, can this actually be happening. Of course. All those early mornings setting up events, late nights writing grants and sharing my sunshine for Landcare during daylight with anyone who crossed my path … #landcareforlyfe, ey? Of course this was bound to happen. But the secret in the success is that I have had my tribe supporting and backing me. The screams of excitement and proudness screeching from tables 38 and 42 made it so much easier to soak in the opportunity and live it up. The award was for them just as much as it was for me.  Now was not the time to diminish myself and cut my poppy seeds. Now was the time to soak it in.

As I accepted the award I said, “This is what happens when magic meets mentorship” – I think.

This is so true, because winning such an award is like magic and we all know what goes into pulling off magic. Lots of dedication and passion. And seeking advice and knowledge from people before you, your mentors. I am blessed to have so many mentors. My family, friends, colleagues and tribe.

Lastly, I want to reflect on my expectation for life. I try not to put pressure on myself and others with high expectations, but at the same time I expect the best because people and the planet deserve the best. So this one is a bit tricky for be to grapple. My friends and family would say I am an overachiever, always onto the next thing before the now is over but this time round I am staying grounded… well until everyone is back to reality in their own self and ready to start creating more expectations.

But in all honesty it is the expectation of others that puts pressure on me to perform. I hate letting people down, especially, my mentors who have supported and backed me. They deserve only the best from me. Part of me sometimes wants to live another life but hey, when you get to wake up everyday being happy and healthy, and work with incredible teams and communities to create a better world for all I wouldn’t change a thing.

Impression, expression and expectation is where I am at with reflecting. Congrats to all the finalists and award winners at the 2016 National Landcare Awards. It’s pretty special to be part of a movement like Landcare. Enjoy your day xo