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Merry Christmas!

December finds us back in Canada for a family Christmas – the full complement of three children, spouses and three grandchildren! This time in New Brunswick where our daughter has family and has moved back to from their last posting in Quebec Province. From 30+degrees C in Toowoomba to -1 today and a nice covering of snow. The picture shows me at Hopewell Rocks – just outside of Moncton – remarkable because of the high tides and flower pot shaped rocks – and this time with a dusting of snow! It’s the seasonal contrasts that makes it all so exciting – between hemispheres and over the annual cycle.It’s been another full year with new projects and some new directions. From program reviews, project evaluations, visits to New Zealand and new M&E platforms for cotton, sugar and dairy. There has been on-going interest and work in developing M&E frameworks/guides for organisations and large programs. I enjoy this type of work because it establishes the basis for on-going rigorous M&E and provides a way for organisations and programs to better “tell their story”. There is remarkable work being done in the RD&E agricultural and natural resource management sectors – most of it under-reported and hence not understood.

This is also true with regards to the work being done to minimise negative effects of farming on the Great Barrier Reef. I was very pleased to see that coordination positions that were recommended in my review of Reef Plan Education and Extension have been put into place – and there is an even greater emphasis on evaluation of the impact of such strategies! This bodes well for the effectiveness of the combined government, industry, NGO and NRM body interventions seeking to assist with the change process occurring in farming.

A good development for me has been the opening of the “Brisbane West – Wellcamp airport” just half an hour from my house in Toowoomba! So far, Toowoomba – Sydney flights have started – and one that I have already taken advantage of. The picture shows the new airport at sunset when storm clouds were building over the Darling Downs. The house with the Ivy growing over it is one of the great sites around North Sydney where I stayed while doing some work for MLA.

Finally, I have continued to find time to dabble in acrylic painting. The painting attached was based on a photo that Robyn took of Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic! I am hoping to keep some space open next year for such creative outlets!

Thanks to all those who have worked with me over this year – and may you all have a good break before getting back into things early in 2015!