#PeopleOfNRM – Annabelle Garratt

I was that little girl that was always taking random insects in for primary school show and tell, who would cry when someone stomped on an ant or when I found a gecko with no tail, who would spend hours moving tadpoles from drying puddles or trying to put fallen baby birds back into their nests, and feeding strawberries to the bob tails that ventured through our back yard.

I have always had a deep connection and fascination with the environment in all its magnificent shapes and forms, and a passion for the incredible critters that inhabit our remarkable region.

Growing up on a mixed operation farming property near the Midwest town of Walkaway gave me the most wonderful start to life, I was surrounded by spectacular bushland, creatures of all sorts and the wildness and serenity of nature. A place that will forever be home in my heart and has helped shape the person that I am today.

As I grew up and became more and more aware of the exquisiteness and fragility of our natural systems, I became better equipped to appreciate this beautiful place that I call home, and the wonderful region we live in. This has left me with a strong urge, and sense of duty to protect and care for it.

When I was seventeen, I did the typical high school graduate move, packed up and headed to the metropolis of Perth, which to this naive young farm girl was quite the culture shock. With the support of my beautiful friends and family, I pushed through the home sickness, the hustle and bustle of the city and the incredible yearn for open space, and completed my Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology.

After I graduated I was lucky enough to acquire a job at a Landcare organisation some 200 kilometres South East of Perth. This opportunity was incredible, and I was able to learn so many things about NRM, agriculture, people and myself.

Now back in the Midwest, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to be one of the Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators here at NACC. This role – while still working on the family farm and taking care of my menagerie of pets – is keeping me very busy and I am overjoyed to be back on home soil doing what I love.

As the Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator I will be working to increase the awareness and uptake of sustainable agriculture practices in the Northern Agricultural Region. This role will see me working to engage and inform landholders, community groups and agricultural industries about emerging ideas, and activities to improve the sustainability, productivity and profitability on farm. With the ultimate goal of increasing the awareness of natural resource management, sustainable agriculture and the implementation of these in our region.

Building on my own experience, I feel that information delivery and knowledge sharing is the initial step in increasing the adoption of sustainable land management practices and facilitating both community and industry mind shift. By changing mindsets across the broader community and fostering understanding of key issues facing our natural resources and the practices that can help maintain these, we are inevitably targeting one of the primary steps involved in practice change- understanding. If we can help even one person to become a little bit more sustainable, no matter how small, we are still making a change for the better. Small changes have the potential to make a big difference.

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