Workshop marathon in South East Queensland
This article was published in
Australasian Plant Conservation, Volume 13, Number 3, December 2004 -
February 2005, pages 4-5.
‘Great diversity of topics, issues and
presenters’, ‘good coverage of the breadth of aspects involved in
rehabilitation, including where to source information’, ‘amazing’ – these were
some of the evaluation responses provided by the participants in these three ANPC workshops.
Designed for SEQ
Between 28 November and 4 December 2004,
the ANPC, in association with the Queensland Herbarium, ran three workshops
designed specifically for South East Queensland. A three-day workshop on
‘Approaches and Techniques for the Rehabilitation of Native Vegetation’ was held
at the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus and repeated at the Brisbane
Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. Each of these workshops included a one-day field
trip to local rehabilitation sites.
The companion workshop on the
‘Translocation of Threatened Plants in Australia’ was also held at the Botanic
Gardens, and included some participants from the rehabilitation workshop. This
was the fifth translocation workshop ANPC has run, with the core group of
presenters being the authors of the revised ‘Guidelines for the Translocation of
Threatened Plants in Australia’. Four local presenters detailed case studies
from South East Queensland.
Structure and content
Numerous practitioners and researchers
from South East Queensland helped design the rehabilitation workshops, which
revolved around planning a rehabilitation project. With a well-considered plan
as a core focus, the sessions were grouped into four main stages:
Stage 1: ‘Knowing your vegetation
remnant’: This stage included ‘sources and
resources’ of existing information, and demonstrations of techniques to reveal
more about the site (mapping, plant identification software, monitoring and
soils) and techniques to assess the quality, condition and recovery capacity of
Stage 2: ‘Assessing and determining
the rehabilitation task’: The key message in this
session was on defining the project goal in context of the site and its
potential, as well as the desires and needs of the community involved.
Stage 3: ‘Developing the
rehabilitation plan’: This stage discussed the
many issues to be considered and the details to be included in the plan, such as
identifying impacts, risks, implications of actions, resources, monitoring and
evaluating, flexible planning, consultation and communication.
Some of the science critical to the
planning process was also discussed, including the ecology of remnants,
conservation genetics, provenance, fire management and experimental techniques.
Stage 4: ‘Monitoring, monitoring and
more monitoring’: This session argued that
monitoring should be an integral part of a rehabilitation project. A case study
demonstrated some of the difficulties encountered in designing useful monitoring
that could be repeated by people not involved in the original project.
Following the above rehabilitation
planning stages, a session on funding and forming partnerships included the
uplifting claim that there is more money available for community projects ‘than
there has ever been’.
Case studies gave life to many of the
topics being discussed, and provided useful insights. Several panel discussions
enabled participants to delve deeper into some topics or to raise specific
issues and queries.
Evaluation scores after the workshops
averaged 8 or 9 out of 10 for all questions on the evaluation form across all
three workshops. For ‘value for money’, one participant gave a score of 11˝
while another gave 12! The ‘preferred topics’ reads like a list of the workshop
topics with no clear winners or losers. Some useful suggestions for other
topics, issues and approaches will be considered in future workshop development.
Accreditation for workshop participation
For the first time, accreditation was
offered to ANPC workshop participants, in association with the Registered
Training Organisation Hortus Australia. Participation can contribute to
nationally recognised qualifications under the Conservation and Land Management
Training Package. Twenty-three people took up this offer.
Heartfelt thanks to the 35 very generous
presenters who made these three workshops possible! These included practitioners
and researchers from environmental consultancies, industry, Landcare, Greening
Australia, State and Local Government, regional bodies, universities and CRCs.
Most presenters gave sessions at both rehabilitation workshops and two presented
at all three workshops. Many also participated fully in other workshop sessions.
The 138 participants came from a similar
range of organisations, as well as private practitioners and enthusiasts. Many
of the participants could have run sessions themselves, as their skills and
experience were rich and diverse. A bonus for all involved was the exchange of
ideas and networking.
Support for these workshops was provided
by a Natural Heritage Trust Envirofund grant, with substantial in-kind support
from our project partner, the Queensland Herbarium (Environment Protection
Agency) under the leadership of Gordon Guymer. Ralph Dowling, a principal
botanist with the Herbarium, took on much of the organisation with gusto, and
his professionalism contributed enormously to the success of the workshops. Ross
McKinnon, Director of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, generously provided the
auditorium free of charge.
Grant Wardell-Johnson, of the University
of Queensland, also arranged free use of teaching rooms at the Gatton campus, as
well as presenting and driving a field trip bus. Too many to name here, field
site hosts guided us through their rehabilitation projects, contributing time,
energy and enthusiasm (as well as iced water!). Powerlink allowed us to visit
their major rehabilitation site at the Bulimba Creek Oxbow. Greening Australia
also provided presenters and participants through their ‘Exchange’ Program.
Student volunteers Heather Brownlie, Rhonda Martin and Brent Tangey valiantly
assisted with an array of jobs, including registrations and washing up!
These workshops were a joint project of
the ANPC and the Queensland Herbarium and supported by a Natural Heritage Trust
Envirofund Grant, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the University of
ANPC project manager