Sarah R - 2010 Graduate Program

Sarah R

Background

Home State: Queensland
University: University of Queensland
Qualifications: Bachelor of Environmental Science (honours)

I completed an Environmental Science degree at the University of Queensland in 2009. My studies focused on conservation science, particularly botany and genetics, and environmental regulation and impact assessment studies. I undertook an honours research year in 2009 with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), researching the ecological interactions between fire regimes and invasive grass species in open eucalypt woodlands. The previous summer I worked on a research project investigating the genetic mechanisms of disease resistance in plants at CSIRO Plant Industry, on a student internship program. While at university, I worked as a tutor of statistics and environmental science field courses for undergraduate students and tutored statistics to students at a sister school in Malaysia via video-link lessons. The highlight of my studies was participating in a student exchange to the University of Hong Kong, which was a great opportunity to travel and to learn about environmental issues and approached to conservation in other regions of the world. I have volunteered with a range of conservation and research organisations, including Greening Australia, the Queensland Herbarium and Queensland Parks and Wildlife. I joined the department to learn about the development and implementation of national environmental policy and regulation, and conservation initiatives.

Placements

First Placement: Commonwealth and Territories Section, Approval and Wildlife Division

This section is part of the Environment Assessment Branch and undertakes assessments of projects in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory (NT), and others areas such as Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The focus of the work relates to controlling the impacts of developments on listed matters of national environmental significance, such as threatened species and migratory birds. I worked on property and road development projects, and had the opportunity to participate in a site inspection of a proposed mine site in a remote area of the NT. This work provides an interesting and challenging combination of conservation science and environmental regulation.

Second Placement: Marine Information and Communication Section, Marine Division

This section is part of the Temperate Marine Conservation Branch, and luckily for me, is located in the Hobart office of the Marine Division. In this section, I contributed to work in defining the key research and information needs of the Marine Division for the coming five years, and to developing a Research Strategy to guide the way the Marine Division interacts with the broader marine scientific community to meet the specific information needs of the Division.

Third Placement: NSW Regional Section, Water Efficiency Division

In this placement, I worked on the $400 million Menindee Lakes project, aimed at altering the management of the lakes to reduce evaporative losses and restore up to 200 gigalitres of water per annum back to the Murray Darling Basin for environmental watering purposes. My responsibilities include performing secretariat services to scientific working groups and managing research contracts to deliver information necessary for the project to proceed. The work of the Water Group is exciting and fast paced, delivering real 'on the ground' environmental outcomes.

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'