Kerry Arabena is Professor of Indigenous Health and Director of the Onemda Research Health Research Unit at the University of Melbourne. She is a coordinating group member of ARLASH and both her research and professional interests address the regenerative landscapes, peoples and health of the ARLASH vision.
Kerry’s doctoral thesis on universal citizenship won the Australian National University 2013 Crawford Prize for academic excellence and she publishes widely on the interdependence between the health of the community and the health of the environment.
At the same time, Kerry is nationally recognised as an active supporter of social change. In the past ten years she has given over 60 major invited addresses on current socio-environmental issues, and chaired over 20 national and international organisations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Peoples’ Council and World Health Organisation initiatives.
Emeritus Professor Valerie A. Brown AO, BSc. MEd. PhD. is Director of the Local Sustainability Project, an on-going collective action program and a member of the coordinating group of ARLASH. Her work has been with over 500 government and non-government organisations and local communities on whole-of-community transformational change in Australia, Europe, and Asia. She is Emeritus Professor of University Health at the University of Western Sydney and Professorial Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.
Her enthusiasm for collaborative change toward a more just and sustainable future has led to Valerie being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for “research teaching, policy development and advocacy for sustainable development”. In 1999 she was a Resident Scholar in the Bellagio Centre of the Rockefeller Foundation and in 2008 a member of the Prime Minister’s Forum on Australia’s future. Her membership of national Councils includes NH&MRC, CSIRO, Environmental Health Association, Public Health Association, the Federation of Consumer Organisations as well as the Alliance for Regenerative Landscapes and Social Health.
She has supervised over 90 doctoral theses with topics such as Universe-referenced citizenship; Adaptive professional practice in environmental management; Deep powers in organizational change; Traditional obligations to country and Transforming the Earth: a study of the change in agricultural mindscapes. Her ten books, alone and with others, include The human capacity for transformational change: harnessing the collective mind, Routledge 2014; Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination, Earthscan 2010 and Social learning and environmental management: towards a sustainable future, Earthscan 2005.
JOHN HARRIS (PUBLIC OFFICER)
John Harris brings to ARLASH wide experience as a researcher, teacher and community activist in the fields of ecology, conservation and environmental education, with emphasis on the connections between theory and practice. His academic teaching and research appointments include the University of Canberra, the Australian National University, Colorado State University, the University of Hanoi and CSIRO. In 1990 he inaugurated Australia’s first community-based Master of Environmental Education Programme at the University of Canberra, first as senior lecturer in ecology and environmental science and then as Head of School of Resource and Environmental Management.
His research and educational publications cover fisheries biology, cave community dynamics,urban ecology and development, and the challenges of teaching of ecology and environmental education. With a particular interest in field work as a central component of environmental education at all levels, John Harris played a significant role in establishing the professional field of natural resource management in Australia. The managers of many of Australia’s National Parks have been graduates of John’s environmental management courses at the University of Canberra.
In 2009 John published The Change Makers: Stories from Australia’s first environmental studies graduates in which he traces the work experiences of 50 graduates as they moved into the then new field of environmental management. Later publications include the ground-breaking transdisciplinary texts Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination in 2010 and The human capacity for transformational change: harnessing the collective mind in 2014.
John’s own field work began with his PhD thesis conducted in a bat cave, which became a classic example of community-based study in the science of Ecology. His later field work ranged from the highlands of Papua New Guinea to urban social and environmental well-being. After retiring from the University of Canberra in 1999, John continued his contributions to community action on environmental issues, from policy advice to the Australian Conservation Foundation, expert advice to national conservation groups such as the Nature and Society Forum Inc to local on-the-ground practice with local action group SEE-Change.
DANA KELLY (SECRETARY)
Dr Dana Kelly is an experienced social scientist with particular interests in collective social learning, participatory action research, local governance and evaluation. Dana has a passion for working with rural communities and Indigenous communities, helping to facilitate knowledge networks, and building bridges between diverse interests. Her doctoral research focused on power relations in community engagement processes in western Queensland, and she has written a book chapter on this topic.
As a retired cattle grazier, Dana has a deep understanding of the bush and rural industries. She has worked in diverse fields – managed a remote tourist resort; planned and run education programs for National Parks; coordinated state government extension programs in pest management; facilitated collaboration to improve regional mental health services. She is just as comfortable working with local community groups or policy makers and national rural industry institutions.
Dana is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Queensland where she supervises Master’s candidates at the International Water Centre, and lectures part-time on Protected Area Management in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management. Previously Dana developed and ran a Master’s course for people living in remote Australia on community engagement. She runs her own consulting business, including developing monitoring and evaluation programs.
Currently, she is an active member of several organisations:
• President of the International Rangeland Society Committee
• Secretary of ARLASH
• Toowoomba Landcare Committee member
• Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) founding member and mentor for young professionals.
DAVID MARSH (BLOG MASTER)
David Marsh, Master of Sustainable Agriculture is an award winning farmer, conservationist and change agent from Boorowa in the South West Slopes of NSW. He had a strong coordinating role during the early years of ARLASH, and is the main contributor to the ARLASH blog.
Since 1980 David has been managing a family farm, Allendale, whilst searching for a way of farming that leads to improved landscape function and allows the self-organizing, self-repairing living community to become more diverse. Over the last 34 years he has actively questioned conventional farming practice, and engaged in change at both the farm level and through a process of life-long learning. This process of action and thought has led to Allendale being managed holistically since 1999.
David graduated as a Master of Sustainable Agriculture, Sydney University, (Orange) in 2001. He is currently a Board member of the NGO Soils for Life, Committee member of Carbon Farmers of Australia, Committee member of the Mid Lachlan Landcare, Growing the Grazing Revolution project, Member of the Stakeholder reference group working with the Federal government on the Carbon Farming Initiative. He has also been a member of Sustainable Grazing on Saline Lands NSW, NSW Native Vegetation Advisory Council, and Board Member of the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority. In particular he was inaugural president and 15 year committee member of Boorowa Community Landcare Group’s Better Knowledge, Better Bush steering committee, (Native Vegetation and Fauna research project).
The Marsh family has hosted the many groups above and also international groups from China and India, on tours of Allendale. As a professional speaker he has addressed over 50 farmer groups, conferences and symposiums, in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia on topics related to people in the landscape, managing holistically, planning for drought, healthy soils, managing for improved biodiversity and resilience, making the connection between healthy landscapes and human and society health. David incorporates this background into his blog.
Charlie Massy OAM, BSc PhD comes to the coordinating group of ARLASH from a rich and diverse background as a fifth generation farmer, historian, best-selling author, renowned sheep breeder, and transdisciplinary researcher. His vision for ARLASH involves recognising regenerative farmers as key players in leading the way in regenerating soil, landscapes, and, via healthy food off such landscapes, people and society.
Charlie Massy has contributed to all aspects of the Merino sheep industry from breeding through to international marketing. On being awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2011 for lifelong service to the wool industry and the community he described himself as “A representative of the industry and a story teller for the industry. I have tried to set the record straight, get to the issue and sketch a potential vision and pathways for the industry”. He continues to manage Severn Park and consultants on wool and Merino genetics as well as regenerative landscape management and healthy grazing eco-systems.
Having established the family farm as Severn Park Merino Stud, Cooma, in 1975, Charlie Massy became well known throughout the industry for his work over 30 years of breeding a plainer style of merino sheep that is not susceptible to fly strike (thus eliminating the need for invasive ‘mulesing’); for increasing the survival rates of twin lambs; and for developing a superior fibre for high quality wool products. During that time he worked on a four person international committee reviewing a $30m genetic research program on future developments for improving the merino breed; and was appointed to the Boards of the International Wool Secretariat, and the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation.
As an author, Charlie Massy’s seminal book tracing the real history of the merino sheep, The Australian Merino, was published in 1990 (1020 pages), followed by the equally definitive The Australian Merino: the history of a nation in 2007. His next book Breaking the sheep’s back on the collapse of the Australian wool industry in 1991 was the best-selling non-fiction book for 2011 and short listed for the Prime Minister’s Prize for historical fiction. He is currently working on a book on the personal and global significance of the practice of regenerative agriculture.
As a researcher, Dr. Massy undertook post-graduate study at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, completing a PhD thesis on Transforming the Earth: a study in the change of agricultural mindscapes. His thesis brought together the ecological and social consequences of switching to a new generation of regenerative agriculture. This practice he labeled ‘neo-organic’ as a combination of recent science and traditional nature-based practice, and contrasted neo-organic agriculture with the exploitative impact of production agriculture. His research findings also included a strong cohort of neo-organic farmers practicing across Australia.
The Seis family was one of the early pioneering families in the Gulgong district and has been farming and grazing in the area since the 1860s.
Colin Seis and his son Nicholas owns the 2000 acre property, Winona, which is situated North of Gulgong in the central tablelands of NSW. The property runs around four thousand, fine wool merino sheep, which includes a 65 year old Merino Stud, and grows around 500 acres annually to oats, wheat and cereal rye using the ‘Pasture Cropping’ technique that Colin developed over 20 years ago. Another important enterprise on Winona is native grass seed which is harvested from the property’s native grassland.
Winona also runs one of the largest kelpie, working dog, studs in the world and sells dogs and pups to many countries in North and South America, Europe and Scandinavia as well as all states of Australia.
Colin has a published book on training working dogs (Working Dogs), which is sold internationally. He has also conducted dog training clinics internationally in the USA, Norway and Sweden and in most states of Australia.
Colin is the pioneer – developer of ‘Pasture Cropping’. Created in 1993, it is a technique of sowing cereal crops directly into perennial pastures, without killing the pasture. It combines grazing and cropping into a single land use method where each one benefits the other economically, environmentally and ecologically.
The benefits of ‘Pasture Cropping’ go far beyond short-term crop yields. It contributes to the development of vitally needed topsoil, water management, stabilizing the many forms of soil erosion, controlling weeds, increasing pasture plant numbers and diversity as well as great potential for restoring grasslands, increasing soil carbon levels , improving soil health and growing nutrient dense, healthy food.
‘Pasture Cropping’ has been adopted in all states of Australia as well as growing numbers in other countries like USA, Argentina and South Africa, with well over 2500 farmers using the technique worldwide. In 2014 Colin won the Bob Hawke Landcare Award for this innovation.
In addition to managing Winona Colin also runs a farm consultancy business advising landholders and speaking at many Workshops and seminars around Australia and internationally on the practical aspects of ‘Pasture Cropping’, Grazing management, land management and Native grassland management.
RICHARD THACKWAY (COORDINATOR)
Richard Thackway is an Adjunct Associate Professor with the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (GPEM), The University of Queensland and a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. Richard is the chair of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Vegetation Information and Mapping Science Advisory Committee (VIMESAC) an independent committee that provides quality-assured scientific advice and peer review to OEH about mapping, survey and classification, and delivery of all forms of vegetation information. Richard is the Coordinator of ARLASH and both his research and professional interests address the regenerative landscapes of the ARLASH vision.
Richard has worked as a research scientist in the Australian Government for much of his career (1984-2011). He has extensive experience working in, and with, government policy and science agencies. In that role he worked with decision-makers involved in the management of natural resources, by developing and implementing decision-support tools, frameworks and information systems. These include: National Reserve System, National System of Representative Marine Protected Areas, Australia’s bioregions (IBRA – terrestrial and IMCRA – marine); Indigenous Protected Areas; the National Vegetation Information System (NVIS) and the Vegetation Assets States and Transitions (VAST) and the Dynamic Land Cover for Australia. His work continues to be influential in several national public programs.
In 2010-11 Richard was hosted by the School of GPEM as a Visiting Sabbatical Fellow with the Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS), Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) and CSIRO Ecosystem Services to develop a national system for tracking and accounting for the impacts of land use and land management on the transformation of vegetated landscapes. That system (VAST-2) has been applied widely at site and landscapes levels across Australia’s bioregions.
Richard’s current research involves assessing and reporting the impacts that land management has on transforming vegetated landscapes, assessing the condition of native vegetation and assisting land managers to track change and trend in the structure, composition and function of regenerative landscapes. His research aims to provide data and information on the condition of sites and landscape to inform land use scenarios and future land management options including biodiversity conservation and resource management.
Richard has published extensively in areas of landscape ecology, vegetation information, ecosystem services, fire management, natural resource management and landscape change. A list of publications and their citations over time can be found here.
JULIA WOLFSON (TREASURER)
Julia Wolfson, MAppSc, PhD, is founder and principal of Turning Forward, a grass roots learning, development and consulting practice based in Canberra and delivered world-wide. She is the Treasurer of ARLASH, and a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. Her work is dedicated to managing change towards the freedom and health of people and environments in communities and organisations worldwide.
Her experience as a facilitator, leadership coach, educator and organisational consultant spans Australia, Africa, Scandinavia, UK, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand and North America in government, non-government, private, public and community organisations. She has contributed to large-scale change initiatives in disability services across Australia to build capacity for a holistic approach to person directed quality of life enhancement, social inclusion and continuous improvement, including Disability ACT, Uniting Care Communities and House with No Steps.
Julia has lived and worked in intentional communities, building on her early experiences as a direct care worker with people with complex needs in protective settings. These communities include Vidaråsen Landsby in Norway, Soltane in Pennsylvania, USA, Motse wa Badiri in Botswana, and Camphill Village West Coast near Cape Town, South Africa. Julia’s approach applies deep democracy principles, accepting that the seeds of change are hidden within tensions and difficulties, and need the perspectives of all stakeholders to be represented and interacted with, and understood, in order to bring relief to everyone. A deep democracy attitude expands the definition of stakeholders to include the diversity of human beings involved and affected as well as the voice of the earth, other living beings, ancestors, the perspective of the universe and the emerging future. Insights from a rich spectrum of multi-leveled information are likely to produce more vibrant and sustainable solutions for regenerating people, communities and environments in relationship with nature, the earth, and the universe that is everyone’s home.
Julia has produced a book on her work Turning Myself Forward: the personal story that led to the Transform and Empower approach and published papers on sexuality education as a path of social action and community building as a path of abuse prevention. She has designed and teaches Transform and Empower: a grass roots approach to innovation, care and inclusion an integrative program where organisational leaders, people receiving services and practitioners are co-learners. She is currently delivering this capacity building certificate program in Botswana, Norway, Canada and United States. Her latest projects include Worldwork seminars and town meetings in Warsaw, Kyiv and Moscow. She brings to ARLASH a joy of learning and facilitating the potential of people and groups to discover and follow their innate direction and create unique solutions.