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UWA student contributes to long term environmental outcomes for regional community

14 April, 2023

Victoria (Tori) Le-Page, a UWA Environmental Science student, made a significant contribution to the land management strategy for the Shire of Waroona through an internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship.

Supporting the Shire’s planning department, Tori gained an appreciation of a regional community as she assisted to update the Shire’s land management strategy, including information and guidelines for remnant bushland, and improvements for fauna in the area, specifically red-tailed black cockatoos.

“Site visits where we saw cockatoos in their natural environment, and then located and categorised sites with strong habitat potential, was a highlight of my internship,” Tori said.

“The community will enjoy and see the direct benefits of the strategy including improved native wildlife outcomes, and increased tourism and economic potential,” she said.

Working with the Shire, in the Peel region, gave Tori an understanding of a small council and their community.

“I was impressed with the council, which takes a personal approach to dealing with issues, as the staff all had good relationships with members of the local community,

“When discussing solutions it was easier to find ways that could benefit most people, as Shire staff are aware of community needs, being residents of the town,” she said.

Karen Oborn, Director Infrastructure and Development Services with the Shire, and Tori’s supervisor, said that the internship role Tori took on filled a gap that enabled the Shire to achieve their project goals.

“Tori listed all of our land reserves, what their current and listed purposes were, any considerations of other uses and what their environmental values were, which is really important to us, as there are a lot of people wanting to clear threatened ecological communities, and mining companies wanting to get into the Jarrah forests,” Ms Oborn said.

“She also created an extensive report and a GIS mapping tool, where we can add each type of vegetation on in layers, also high value agricultural land and where waterways are, so we can actually make some really good decisions,

“We can even compare now what native vegetation and wetlands we have left compared to pre-colonial times; we were quite rapt, it was more than we expected, and it’s a tool that we’re still using,” Ms Oborn said.

As well as the benefits for the Waroona community, Tori acknowledged the positive outcomes for her own future.

“This internship provided me with an idea of what is expected in my career field, and it gave me a sense of confidence that I can succeed in the future."