As a committee member for the Environmental Practitioners Network WA I have been involved in organising the inaugural Environmental Practitioners Workshop in collaboration with EIANZ (Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand) for the last 10 months.  It was an incredibly satisfying and proud moment to watch as the day’s events progressed and to discuss the themes of the presentations with other attendees.   

Workshop Overview

The workshop began bright and early on Friday morning the 26th of May with a light breakfast and coffee as the grass glistened in the early morning sunshine at Leederville Oval.  Professor Lyn Beazley gave an inspiring keynote presentation highlighting the fantastic science being undertaken across Western Australia.  The morning session on ‘Policy, Programmes and Research’ was then underway.  My personal highlight from this session was the overview, learnings and progress of the WA Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI) which presented several opportunities where industry and research can combine.

The second session of the day focused on ‘Recovery and Rehabilitation’ with presentations from Engtech Risk Consultants on clean-up efforts after the Yarloop Bushfire and actions from South Coast NRM to protect EPBC Species.  I quite enjoyed the presentation from South Coast NRM on their successful rehabilitation program in deep sand near Esperance with the before and after images showing huge biodiversity and growth in only two years.  Quite impressive I thought.

The third session of the day covered ‘Tools and Innovation’ with discussions raised on the use of drones and an environmental planning tool available for local Governments.  I quite enjoyed the presentation after lunch from Encycle Consulting which discussed food waste within the hospitality industry and the progress made to try to reduce this waste.  It was quite eye-opening to see just how much food waste is accumulated.  While the presentation focused on hospitality it was easy to see how these changes and technologies could translate to small business and individual homes.

The final session of the workshop had a focus on ‘Community and Engagement’ with presentations on offsets and community initiatives and understanding social capital in rural communities.  My highlight from this session was a presentation by Millennium Kids discussing the ‘kids on country’ program run out of Coolgardie.  I enjoyed hearing about the success of this program in building relationships within an indigenous community and the benefits this has had to those involved.

The workshop drew to a close with a final keynote presentation from Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, an inspiring discussion on how small actions can have a global impact, particularly when it comes to environmental initiatives and change.  Her passion and enthusiasm for reducing plastic waste was captivating and I’m sure I’m not the only one now questioning what else I can do to reduce my plastic waste.

Final Thoughts

As the sun began to set a drink was shared among fellow practitioners with the opportunity to discuss the day’s events, debate personal views and presentations alike (and in my case, take a sneak peek at the footy players starting their training session!).

I think the workshop was a great success.  It got people talking and provided a great opportunity for Environmental Practitioners to come together and find out what’s been going on outside their own project, research or work bubble.  Most importantly it built a sense of community within the environmental space and reaffirms that should we require assistance or expert knowledge there is most likely an enviro out there who can help and who would be more than happy to share their knowledge and experience – all we have to do is ask.

To discuss the workshop, see pictures from the workshop or find out when the next event will be, please follow the Environmental Practitioners Network WA (EPNWA) on LinkedIn and/or Facebook.

Presentations from the workshop can be downloaded here.

EPNWA’s share of the proceeds from the workshop will be donated to Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.