In February’s newsletter, we are introducing you to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Mt Gibson Sanctuary & Operations Manager, Matt Lynn!
How long have you been involved in biodiversity conservation?
I’ve been involved in conservation on a volunteer or paid position basis since 2014. However, I’ve been working in conservation full time since 2018 from either field research to managing a sea turtle rescue hospital. I changed my career from Shipwright/Ship building where I worked in multiple roles over a 10-year period, mainly building defense/border security vessels and large high-speed commercial ferries.
What pushed you to get into the conservation industry?
Growing up along the pristine coastline of Warnbro Sound and Safety Bay, I spent a lot of my time in the ocean and bushlands, fascinated by what I saw and what was so new each time I went out. Animals’ behaviour and how greatly the environment could change in such a small area of what I saw, I knew there was much more to learn, and I wanted to do everything I could to protect the ecosystems and the animals within it.
Where do you hail from?
I grew up in Warnbro/Safety Bay (south of Perth), I still frequent the coastal area to swim, wander, and beach comb but home for me now is Fremantle and Mt Gibson. I moved around a lot over the last 10 years exploring the world, jobs, industries with the intention of always being able to find a long-term career in conservation closer to Fremantle by my family and friends.
Tell us about your role with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy!
I was fortunate to be recruited by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy in late 2019 where I moved over (from central Queensland) to sanctuary manage the 300,059-hectare Charnley River Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Kimberley Region of North Western Australia.
My key responsibilities as Sanctuary & Operations Manager at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary are to:
Bridge the two streams of Operations and Science to work together to design, implement and manage the effectiveness of the Operations team land management strategies around Fire, Weeds and Feral Animal Control.
Develop and maintain sanctuary assets and infrastructure
Implement, maintain, and ensure HSE compliance
Develop, plan, and implement operational budgets and work plans
Support fundraising, visitor management, communication, and development programs
Facilitate the day-to-day management duties
What’s happening at the AWC at the moment?
Over the next few months, the Operations team will continue to plan and implement a strong feral animal control strategy with key focus on Cat and Rabbit management. We are also planning our weed management strategy with anticipation on implementing the strategy come the next few months. Several large tasks around infrastructure and assets are coming to close out over the next few months allowing a smooth, comfortable, safe busy operational period through winter, autumn, and spring.
I’m also working together on some great programs such as group retreats, school group visitor opportunities, Supporter events and grant-funded projects.
What have been some highlights working at AWC?
My favourite part about working with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy is I love living and working on the sanctuary with the team, tackling the day-to-day and long-term operational challenges and conservation objectives of AWC on the ground, in the field directly.
I love being a part of a dynamitic, extremely talented, motivated team who have like-minded work and life ethos, values, and enthusiasm to achieve their science or operational objectives.
The activities we engage with on the sanctuaries are such unique and incredible experiences I can’t pin it to one highlight. But my time with Australian Wildlife Conservancy has been a highlight of either of my careers and I’ve been exposed to so many new challenges, people, environments, and opportunities to learn and grow.
What do you love about the region you work in?
I love the community around the region and the ecological biodiversity is so beautiful. It has something to offer all year round from stunning displays of wildflowers to warm summer nights with rich fiery sunset skies and stars so bright you feel like you are a part of the ecosystem and not so much a ‘rat race’.
Tell us about a project or long-term goal you’d like to see come to fruition within your field of work.
I’d love to continue to see the effectiveness of the way we manage land for conservation continue to grow within the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. But also, in outside industries that are beginning to adapt and manage a way of life where conservation and other businesses industries can work together to look after the environment locally and globally.
What would be your message to people who are looking to learn more or get involved in biodiversity conservation?
From my perspective, it is extremely valuable to gain work experience, internships, study, volunteer, network, and engage in the community as much you can before committing to a full-time role. This can benefit you greatly when you need to work with such a broad range of skills, backgrounds and a diverse range of team members. It helps provide a greater view and understanding of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. In addition, it provides the opportunity to decide what area of conservation you wish to hone your skills into.