World Rivers Day passed us recently and it was a significant milestone for us at the Australian River Restoration Centre – the ARRC turned 10!
Here are ten highlights for us that help celebrate the last 10 years of the ARRC restoring our rivers!
1. Establishing the Australian River Restoration Centre and celebrating ten years of operation.
I established the ARRC when an organisation that was dear to me, Land & Water Australia, was abolished. I needed the ARRC to ensure people could still access all the knowledge and networks that we established through the National Riparian Lands R&D Program over the 13 years I worked on it as Program Coordinator. I am so pleased that people can still access the resources we developed through that Program, as well as our new Rivers of Carbon products. Fundamentally I believe we need to share knowledge by ensuring it is accessible, meaningful and relevant to people who care about rivers and want to act to protect and restore them.
2. Developing projects that value social capital as much as natural capital (no more undercover social science!).
This photo was taken at an event ‘Messing things up at Australind’ with Margie Fitzpatrick (landholder) and the Rivers of Carbon team. I love this photo because it is bringing together people with a range of different skills and world views to make a difference on-ground as well as to people like Margie who give of themselves and the farming enterprises they are passionate about. It is a bringing together of our natural and social capital, and we need both for successful projects – you can see more and read about what we have achieved through the project here.
3. Working with wonderful people, particularly our close team of Lori, Mary, Sophie, Pat and Antia.
Bottom row: Sophie (left), Antia (center) and Pat (right)
We know that the people you spend the most time with have the most influence over your life and outlook. I am fortunate in having a great team and we support each other through ups and downs. We also have supportive and skilled partners like Greening Australia who share our belief in the value of people and landscapes. Other team members include our all important funding partners like Water NSW, NSW Environmental Trust, Commonwealth Biodiversity Fund, Department of Crown Lands and Landcare.
4. Running some fun events, making great films with Richard Snashall, and sharing them widely.
Anyone who knows what we do knows that telling great stories is fundamental to sharing your knowledge and connecting with lots of different people. Richard Snashall is a great friend and colleague and we know that you love his stories as much as we enjoy creating them. The photo above captures Richard (left), Adam (center) and myself (right) working on one of favourite movies ‘Buffers, Sponges and Moderators’.
5. Meeting generous landholders who work with us to fence-off many kilometres of riparian zone, plant trees, fix headcuts and remove weeds.
Our recent National Tree Planting Day at Burra saw us planting 1600 trees and is a great example of what can be achieved when working with partners like Greening Australia and people drawn to making a difference by getting trees in the ground. Although it was a bitterly cold day we had over 100 people braving the weather to get a mix of native trees, shrubs and grasses into an open stretch of riparian area that is going to look fantastic in a few year’s time. These days are gifts that stretch into decades as those trees grow, providing habitat for wildlife, protecting the stream, buffering sediment and making it a lovely place to wander and enjoy nature.
6. Establishing valued partnerships with government and non-government organisations across a wide range of projects.
7. Devising workshops that are fun, informative and share what we have learnt with others so that we can, in turn, learn from them.
We know that face-to-face interaction is the most successful communication approach, and this is why we have started running workshops to share what we have learnt with others, and to then learn from them about what they have experienced and can share with us. Our Riparian Retreat and Stakeholder and Engagement Workshops are proving to be well supported and we are delighted we can now offer them as another way to connect people and build capacity within our industry.
8. Inspiring people through public speaking, newsletters, our resources and the RipRap Magazine.
Our monthly newsletter is a treat to send out and we are delighted to see the number of subscribers continuing to grow (new subscribers can sign up here). We also really enjoyed being at the Australian Stream Management Conference and presenting on a range of different topics from the six thinking hats for stakeholder engagement (thankyou Lori) through to the Rivers of Carbon model and Landcare (Mary) and myself on the case for investing in social capital. Connecting and sharing is what being human is all about and we love this aspect of our work.
9. Investing in our waterway community through the Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership Program, and the Waterway Management Mentoring Program.
I believe investing in people is vital, as all of us have knowledge, networks and enthusiasm we can then share with others. I feel extremely privileged to facilitate the Peter Cullen Trust Leadership Program where I meet amazing people who are all passionate about playing a part in our water industry. I am also really pleased to have been able to establish the Waterway Management Twinning Program in partnership with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA. This Program is extra special as I think mentoring and taking the time to build supportive relationships is something all organisations need to be investing in if we are to keep our industry strong, resilient and capable.
10. Feeling good about the choices we have made to prioritise people, communities and the rivers, wetlands, creeks and swampy meadows that connect us to nature and replenish our souls. Just imagine sitting next to this stretch of river, hearing the gentle sounds of water flowing by, the birds singing, wind in the trees… rivers are special places and are worthy of our care and attention.
Thank you to everyone who have supported us and become part of our community, in particular my husband Tom and son Finn 😊