I still have vivid memories of when I was nine, perhaps ten, being with my father as he travelled to some of the fantastic landscapes of northeast Victoria in Australia. Travelling, learning about the landscapes and listening to discussions with people about their work, their connections to their landscapes/communities and their hopes for the future made a big impression – something I didn’t realise the significance of until later in my life.
But their significance did emerge – through university studies, professional work supporting community-focused landscape conservation/sustainability, teaching all this in various universities and being ‘out there’.
All this ultimately provided layers of understanding landscapes and the people who live in them. This has been underpinning both my professional activities in international conservation in various locations around the world, and my personal activities out in wild and not-so-wild places, for many years now.
I’ve been a walker, cyclist, canoeist and camper for a long time – long enough to remember the pain of walking with external frame rucksacks. I still have scars on my hips to prove it I’m sure. (For those of you who have never heard of external frame rucksacks, do a quick web search.)
These activities and experiences, as well as the sheer enjoyment of being out in wild and not-so-wild places, have led very specifically to my professional life supporting landscapes and the communities who live in them. I’ve worked on all kinds of issues and in all kinds of landscapes in Australia and well beyond – national parks, wildlife and endangered species protection (mostly tigers), tourism, world heritage, collectives, fishing, nomadic herders, the Himalayas, the great rivers of South Asia, forests in lots of different landscapes. And as a social scientist, my beginning point is with people in their landscapes.
When not working elsewhere, home is on the border of the Australian states of NSW and Victoria. Here the Murray River winds its way along its journey to the sea, the Australian Alps are within 90 minutes and some of Australia’s great national parks are at my doorstep. You’ll see these influences throughout my site.