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Autumn 2017

That was quite a Summer! The heat and then the cyclone. How much is global warming and how much is natural variation I have no idea – but the indication that extremes will increase going forward is certainly a concern.

The reef (Great Barrier Reef) of course is caught up in these extremes. I have just returned from a series of regional workshops with people involved in agriculture and natural resource management in the reef areas. We have been looking at how to strengthen the underlying extension and education system to best support producers as they seek to adapt to continuously improve the way in which they farm and manager their properties – with benefits to water quality and reef health. This also coincided with another major coral bleaching event that threatens general reef health and adds urgency to do all we can to provide an environment for protecting our world treasure.

The Summer also saw me in New Zealand on two occasions. One visit was associated with the Weaving the Korowai of Papatūānuku – Adaptive governance and supported environmental decision making project where we visited the community to better understand the challenges facing them. It was incredible to view a ‘glacier’ of what rock and clay moving down their river system and taking an entire mountainside with it over time. The downstream effects are the loss of land and livelihoods and a stress on an already disadvantaged community.

The other visit was for the on-going Primary Innovation Project – or Co-innovation Project’ as many know it. It is coming to the end of its five year exploration of a different model to fast track innovation and positive change across rural industries. It has been an exciting project with significant learning and it is hoped that a new project can build on this and demonstrate some real transformation of the way do business in research, development and extension.

The other significant occurrence in Coutts J&R is the return of Amy from maternity leave and from living in London. Amy (Samson) is already doing a great job pulling together the different project strings. We have also been fortunate to have had Evie Grove Smith adding her expertise to our projects over the last six months.

It’s good to see the demand for, and interest in, program evaluation – especially when it comes to planning ahead and embedding in long term projects. Hope you all enjoy the changing season!