Projects

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Review of the Westernport Targeted Land Stewardship Project, 2013. Conceived and delivered through three Landcare Networks, this project was an innovation in approaches to land stewardship. It took the idea of stewardship, combined this with locally-proven processes for supporting practice change amongst landholders, and integrated these with a tender process for delivery of ecosystems services. The review examined the project’s impacts, service delivery methodology, project management and project partnerships.

Training in Peer Learning, Port Phillip and Westernport CMA, 2013. Workshops to develop skills and relationships for peer learning, with a focus on engagement of landcare and other environmental groups with local communities. North East CMA, 2013. Peer learning workshops focused on facilitation of local planning with landcare groups.

Training Package for Landcare Support Staff, DSE Landcare Unit, 2012. Development of strategies for supporting learning of new and established facilitators. Based on interviews with staff of Landcare Networks and groups, I developed a competency framework, and used a survey to assess the learning priorities of landcare support staff. This led to a suite of recommendations for targeted training, peer learning, and an online learning community, with an implementation timeline of activities and budget for three years. Selection criteria for choosing consultants to deliver these recommendations were written, so that landcare staff at regional level could contract in their own training consultants.

Reaching the Hard to Reach, Westernport Targeted Stewardship Project, 2011. Action research with Landcare Networks in the Westernport area. The project team was facilitated through a review and assessment of their current approaches to engaging traditional dairy and beef farmers, pinpointing gaps in their knowledge. This led to research by the team into the sources these farmers use to get new ideas on pasture management and renegotiation. With the results in front of them, the team was able to set up an action plan through which the Stewardship Project could engage these farmers.

Landcare Network Readiness Project, 2006-09, DSE, Victoria. Peer group action research, developing the capacities of Landcare Networks to contribute to landscape change. Developed tools for development of Landcare Networks, and set up and facilitated Landcare forums across Victoria for knowledge-sharing on current issues in landcare development.

Community-based governance in social-ecological systems: An inquiry into the marginalisation of Landcare in Victoria, Australia, 2006-10. PhD, 2011. Peer groups of staff and members of management committees of Landcare Networks critiqued breakdown in collaboration with government NRM planners and programs, in particular with CMAs. Through a action research of 9 months, participants initiated stronger advocacy and activism on behalf of community interests. Reframing within a community of practice was triggered by doubt and an honest examination of past failure to change landcare’s marginalised position. A Landcare Network approach to decision making emerged as creation of relationships of mutual responsibility focused on maintaining the momentum of change across the social-ecological system.

Performance Story Reporting, End of Project Review, Mid-Term Review, AG NRM Team, 2008. Design and facilitation of two national assessment workshops, reviewing trials for a prototype of a new assessment process for NRM outcomes. The workshops allowed the ten trial sites to bring out the realities of engaging stakeholders on the ground in very different locations and projects across Australia, and identified success factors across those sites. The assessment led to acceptance of a new process of NRM evaluation by the Australian Government NRM Team.

Indicators and measures for social capacity in NRM, National Action Plan Multi-Region Project, Victoria, 2005-06. An 18 month project to devise and trial measures for capacity in NRM governance and delivery. Five indicators were trialled by Corangamite CMA, requiring specification of a protocol for CMA team assessment of partnerships, an innovative phone survey to rate strength of partnerships, networks and NRM organisations, and a procedure for program staff to set targets for building community capacity.

Farmer Groups on the Net, 2002-02. Commonwealth FarmBis funded action research project looked at how farmer groups can use the Internet to interact more and speed up their learning. A joint venture with the University of Queensland, working with two farmer groups, one in WA focused on innovation in the use of perennial pastures and summer crops in farming systems, and the other in southern Queensland/northern NSW focused on dairying.

Steps for Handling Land Use Planning decision, Water and Rivers Commission, 2000-01. Using a core reference group of Manager and staff of Land Use Planning, this project documented all relevant knowledge of how staff should handle each of fifteen land use planning referrals, which make up 95% of referrals. The final website held information on responsibilities of various planning agencies (DEP, MfP, Local Government), Commission responsibilities, steps to be followed in providing advice, and likely issues with each referral.

Working the Networks, Agriculture Western Australia, 2000 – 2001. 18 month project built a network between people involved in building networks, and an action learning process in which staff worked with their peers on their practice as networkers and network builders. Documented Best Practices in networking and network building, linked to Case Studies by participants and Readings from related literature, ready for website access.

Networks for Sustainability, WA Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2001-02. Design and facilitation of an online forum format, that allows people to continue to talk about issues coming out of public seminar series, for two weeks after the session. The aim is to build a stronger network within WA between those interested in sustainability.

Learning Systems, Water and Rivers Commission, 1996 – 2001. Introduced use of Learning Sets, first for manager development, then for knowledge development around operational issues:

  • Stream Use – documenting best practice in handling stream use, and developing new policy;
  • Community Involvement – looking at ways to better integrate community involvement across the Commission.

Drainage Project, Avon Working Group, 1997-99. In consultation with an expert panel of leading farmers, this project built for the first time a body of informed opinion on drainage that was accessible to farmers, transparent in its thinking, and comprehensive in its scope. The farmers negotiated a set of guidelines on best practice drainage in WA’s Avon Basin. Working with the Soil and Land Conservation Commissioner, scientists and technical experts across the State’s four natural resource management agencies, Ross then coordinated inputs on: drainage types and risks; designing drainage; modelling of water use at catchment scale; water management options for catchment groups; and educational materials for landholders on Looking after Wetlands and Watercourses. In an early and innovative use of web technology, web designers organised this material for the Avon Catchment Network website.

Other knowledge projects

  • Skills for Communication in Teams, Department of Treasury and Finance, WA, 2005.
  • High Performing Teams Program, Department of Education, Science and Training, Canberra. 2004
  • Online forums for Sustainability, Department of Premier and Cabinet, WA, 2001-02
  • Online group processes to facilitate rural Internet research and development, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, 2002-03
  • Farmer Groups on the Net, FarmBis, 2001-02

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