#PeopleOfNRM – Samantha Comito

NACC NRM has a new team member, Samantha, who has recently joined our Biodiversity team!

How long have you been involved in the Biodiversity / Conservation industry?

My original background is as a veterinary nurse and started nursing in mixed practice (small and large animal) in 2005 in Geraldton, also worked at the Greenough wildlife sanctuary volunteering for a bit. I have always loved working with wildlife and always had a passion for rescue and rehabilitation.

In 2012 I volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia that was heavily involved in trying to reduce the conflict between free roaming carnivores and farmers. Initially, I was only meant to be there for 3 weeks, I ended up staying 6 weeks and then returning for another 3 months. I returned regularly over the next 5 years for periods of time working as a volunteer coordinator and sanctuary vet nurse.

It was here that I found my passion for conservation and the need to get involved in preserving our biodiversity back here in Australia. Ever since I have continued to develop my career in this field, working at Perth Zoo, then completing a Masters in Wildlife Health and Conservation and volunteer work with Australian Wildlife Conservancy. 

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What influenced you to go down this path?

I think that I have always had a soft spot for wildlife and nature, and after learning more about the continuing loss of biodiversity in Africa, not just the growing number of wildlife species becoming endangered but the impacts of weather, feral animals and invasive plant species, I started to question the state of my home and its biodiversity and future.

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Where do you call home?

I am born and bred Geraldton, although I lived and worked in Perth and overseas for quite a while, home has always been Geraldton.

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What is your role at NACC NRM?

My role at NACC NRM is as a Biodiversity Project Officer, my job is to help support our Senior Biodiversity Project Officer in the preparation, planning and implementation of a range of projects aimed at both helping local land holders in the NRM preserve both the environment and native species within it.

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What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently getting stuck into the project ‘In the Wake of the Storm – Environmental Recovery and Preparedness’, a project that is concerned with increasing the community’s ability to withstand and recover from tropical cyclones (like Tropical cyclone Seroja) in the natural environment using revegetation trials throughout the Midwest region. We will be using the revegetation trials to assess the potential damage that can be caused to and by native vegetation in particular locations as a result of cyclones. These trials will allow us to create informative environmental guidelines for prospective land managers.

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What do you love about the Northern Agricultural Region?

The Midwest and Northern Agricultural Region is a pretty unique area of Western Australia, as it holds 3 out of Australia’s 15 biodiversity hotspots, making it incredibly important to preserve. The scenery, especially in wildflower season, is breath-taking. I think what’s even more special is we have so many amazing little native species living here, many of which I had no idea about until I got further into conservation, but all play a huge role within their ecosystems. I am very lucky to live and work in such spectacular settings, with hard-working people all generally trying to achieve a more sustainable future.

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What is your vision for the the future, within the Biodiversity / Conservation industry?

My vision for the future is that between conservation funds, the government, native title land owners, the mining industry, and farming, the relationships we have formed continue to be successful and we go on, not only to re-establish and sustain areas we have degraded for flora and fauna, but to create viable economical and practical methods to continue this work. I believe that things are heading in this direction, and my goal is to ultimately jump in and be part of this giant effort.

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What would you say to those who are looking to get more involved in conservation?

My message would be that you are never too young or too old to start learning about what’s happening in your local environment. It can feel really overwhelming when you start learning about all the projects and facts and figures, but it’s important to just take a step back and remember that every little bit helps.

Whether it is looking up your local council to figure out what you can and can’t recycle, buying and using a keep cup for coffee, or even just picking up plastic waste or debris at the beach every now and again. If we all chip in, just a little bit, that’s when we see change and can make significant impacts in conservation. I would start with your local conservation organisations. We have some fantastic resources available these days and it’s important for as many people as possible to know what we are working towards and get involved.

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