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Wrapping up 2010

Well just short trips since Chile.  A couple of days in Port Lincoln where I have been doing some work with the Eyre Peninsula NRM Board – looking at planning and evaluation for the major natural resource management programs.

Port Lincoln describes itself as…a thriving City where residents and visitors enjoy a clean, safe and unique location, enhanced by the surrounding natural environment…a major service centre to the Eyre Peninsula, with burgeoning aquaculture activity and services, which are provided to the vast region. It is the home of aquaculture.  It’s certainly a pleasant seaside location – great sunrises – over the bay.

More recently, I have started facilitating a series of workshops for RIRDC with the Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health in South West Queensland looking at issues impacting on uncertainty, stress and mental health in rural and remote communities.  The project itself is focused on climate change implications (and drought) but also picks up on other factors such as the impact of mining, reduced services, isolation etc.  The aim of this first phase is to explore the issues at local levels and see how community capacity can be assisted to be better able to deal with mental health issues in their localities.

It has been incredible that people have been prepared to come and share their communities and their concerns with us.  We have heard some real tough stories so far – but also of some excellent initiatives within these communities to support each other as well.  The participants tell us that they have gained a lot by being at the workshops and hearing from others in their own communities and hearing of what is happening and what can be done.  Because we don’t want to be another lot of outsiders who breeze in and out without anyone hearing from us again, we have started a blog so that workshop participants and others can follow what comes out of different localities and can add comments as well.  They will also be able to follow the conclusions and outcomes of the workshops and this phase of the project.

But life is not just about work things.  A recent family highlight was looking after number one grandson (3 years old) for a week or so – and going for a trip to “Bindi’s zoo”. Despite not finding Bindi, we had a great time – and young Alex was brave enough to even feed the elephants (as well as sitting on the giant crocodile with Uncle Chris and Aunty Amy) – we were much impressed!

So 2010 is now almost gone – just about marking 10 years of Coutts J&R!!!! It has been a very busy and very varied year – and I am wondering what I will be able to report next year.  Have a happy Christmas and all the best for 2011!