2022 was a big year!

It’s been a really busy year at Coutts J&R and probably one of the main reasons I didn’t meet my goal of writing at least one blog post a month. So to make up for it (in a very small way) I thought I’d share some of our highlights over the last year.

Growing our work in the agricultural climate change space, particularly with our projects in the Future Drought Fund (FDF) including Climate Services for Agriculture (CSA), Regional Drought Resilience Planning (RDRP), Farm Business Resilience Planning (FBRP) and the Southern NSW Drought Hub.

Setting up and embedding data collection and management systems into a range of projects to ensure the right data can be collected for reporting against objectives. A shout out to the SNSW Drought Hub, FBRP, and CSA projects in particular for their hard work with us on this. MEL reporting will be that much easier as a result!

Presenting at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference in August/September was a highlight for me. I was able to use some emerging findings from my PhD and apply these to evaluation. My presentation was called: Social media as an evaluation, listening and monitoring tool case study: Instagram, Australian farming women, social media and climate change.

Our ongoing work with the Queensland Drought and Climate Adaptation Program. This has independently been recognised as a standout program and through a robust MEL approach it has been shown to be achieving a high level of impact in northern Australia.

As part of our work with the Resilient EP (soil moisture) project in South Australia, Jeff and Ben attended the March 2022 Regional Innovator Group workshop in Port Lincoln. The project was entering its final year and attending in person provided valuable insights into the project and its progress, as well as an opportunity to interact with the project team. Jeff facilitated a session focused on reviewing the M&E framework targets and key project outcomes, while Ben presented the findings of the most recent M&E report – both receiving positive feedback by those attending.

We were very pleased attend the 2022 Australian Pacific Extension Network (APEN) conference and sponsor the Amabel Fulton award for Excellence in Extension by a Young Professional. The two very worthy joint winners were Sarah Thompson (Dairy Australia) and Jodie Ward (Dept Agriculture and Fisheries, Qld).

And that just about wraps it up for 2022. Hope you have a restful and rejuvenating holiday season and we wish you all the best for 2023!

Looking for the good

I’ve been a little overwhelmed over the year, as I’m sure many have, with the sheer amount of news (mostly negative) that is avalanching over us all the time. I think we are constantly in fight or flight mode and it’s exhausting!

In the latest edition of the very good Galah magazine, editor Annabelle Hickson talks about her husband listening to positive podcasts while planting on his tractor, and the feeling of being buoyed by hope. She’s planting flowers that aren’t drought tolerant, but doesn’t care, because it’s enough to enjoy them now. Even though times change, and we don’t all experience good things at the same time, it’s not bad to look for things in the world to be hopeful about.

This inspired me (thanks Annabelle) and at the end of the year I’m tired of the dire news and have been actively looking for more positive stories and things to be hopeful about – and there is some good inspiration out there.

I’ve made a short list of what I’ve found today and I hope they provide some bright spots for you.

Can I finish with this quote which was shared by @extraordinary_routines on Instagram. It is most excellent.

Who doesn’t love a good cartoon?

Cartoon from: https://freshspectrum.com/

Every week I receive an email newsletter from Chris Lysy who authors a blog called freshspectrum. He’s focused on evaluation and demystifying the data analysis and presentation process. A key way he communicates ideas is through cartoons and sometimes the insights he shares are very close to the mark of what I’ve experienced and I have to laugh!

Chris also shares some good basic ‘how to’ resources on the blog such as:

So I thought I would share a couple of my favourites as we all need more reasons to have a chuckle these days. And check out the blog if you have a few spare minutes.

New APEN membership category

The Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) has just announced a new membership category – APEN Professional Membership. This has a range of extra benefits for those who have their applications accepted including the post-nominal use of APEN-PM. More information and how to apply can be found on APEN’s website.