Every two years’ people working in the NRM sector from across Australia come together to share their knowledge and contribute to the future direction of NRM in Australia.
This year NRM Regions Australia, along with the North East Catchment Management Authority, hosted Australia’s 7th National NRM Knowledge Conference in Wodonga, Victoria, with the theme of Creating Resilience through Natural Resource Management – how do we do it?
The 2019 conference organisers set out to ensure this year’s event was a little different and that attendees took a little more home to their region this year.
The highly interactive conference incorporated workshop or feedback components into many of the more traditional conference sessions like plenary and concurrent sessions. For instance, a number of the plenary sessions were also accompanied by ‘provocateurs’ who were engaged to make us think a little outside the box.
It was particularly pleasing to see WA’s very own Sue Middleton on stage as a provocateur early on Day One.
Sue’s message of provocation was interestingly, not provocative at all. In fact, she merely advocated for common sense in the environment, farming and conservation space. Sue also encouraged delegates to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, particularly when it comes to partnerships.
Throughout the concurrent sessions and problem solving sessions, delegates were able to contribute to the collective ‘Call to Action’ which is set to be one of key outcomes of the event. NACC NRM will share this document as soon as it is finalised and ask for your thoughts on it.
Over the three days of the conference, two sessions were especially impactful on me.
The first of these was the concurrent session on Ecosystem Resilience – Innovation. This session showcased a number of projects discussing food security strategies, a community feral Deer control program and how to engage young people in Landcare. I really enjoyed the model that Intrepid Landcare are using to engage young people who not only want to know about their local environment but also want to be actively involved in protecting it.
The second session that made a lasting impression was a session by Trudi Ryan who shared her knowledge and some practical tips on values-based communication and messaging and gave some great examples of how we can frame our messages to be most impactful for our audience.
Although the travel schedule was rough, it was heartening to see so many people make their way to regional Victoria to support the event and the region certainly turned on the charm. Whether by luck or good planning, I’m not sure, but the conference coincided with the City of Wodonga’s Sustainability Festival and thanks to a heads up from an ex-NACCer turned Victorian, we were able to attend a fabulous and inspiring ‘We Eat Local’ event and were treated to amazing local produce put together by some very talented local chefs. Watch this space for the opportunity to support local producers in the future.
I find that conferences are fabulous opportunities to network with new and old colleagues and like-minded professionals, but they can often you leave feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
I can honestly say that I walked away from the 2019 National NRM Knowledge Conference feeling hopeful, energised and excited to explore new opportunities for the Northern Agricultural Region and NACC NRM.
CEO, NACC NRM