Welcome to Helen McKernan, our new President
This year’s AGM was a fantastic opportunity for the SRCMN committee and members of the public to get together in person after nearly 2 tough years of COVID. The hardship was not over yet though, as the gate lock at the Euroa Arboretum had decided to throw up one more challenge before the meeting could start.
After walking in chairs, food and documents to the undercover area, the meeting finally got underway. The meeting was attended by the entire SRCMN committee and the three project coordinators, as well as 4 interested members of the public. Michael Spencer, the outgoing president, gave a concise wrap up of the year that was, as well as a broader overview of the conservation space and climate.
We also heard from the 3 project coordinators, who were excited to be back out and about after having some of their efforts hampered for the last 2 years.
The committee remains mostly the same as last year, with the exception of Michael Spencer stepping down as president after more than a decade of service. The committee would like to thank him for the knowledge, leadership and commitment he’s provided to the SRCMN in his time as president.
The SRCMN was delighted to welcome Helen McKernan as the new SRCMN president, and looks forward to continuing and building upon the successes of the last decade.
It is with a great deal of passion for protecting our biodiversity and promoting community awareness of our links to the natural environment that I take on this position as president of the SRCMN. A key aspect of the work is engaging with human communities to protect our natural communities through projects that engender hope and positive action.
Like many women of my era my career kick-started as a secondary science teacher then later as a consultant for the Education Department on approaches to increase girls’ participation in the sciences. After completing post-graduate studies in the social sciences I worked at Swinburne University’s National Centre for Gender and Diversity. The research focused on scientific and technical fields and the strategies that increased the involvement of women and diverse cultural groups. Work at other research units at Monash University and the Brotherhood of St Laurence included projects with Indigenous peoples, Museums Victoria, Victoria Police and the Pacific harvest workers.
Working with traditional owners is an important aspect of the SRCMN’s work as is including new identity groups in the community. To achieve the desired outcomes the SRCMN’s work relies on acquiring funding and writing submissions and grant applications, a core capability I bring from my research work. Outside of the formal workplace I’m an enthusiastic volunteer for environmental and revegetation projects and myriad conservation groups. As we face the increasing environmental threats I look forward to working with the committee and the wider community to protect our unique biodiversity and mitigate the effects of climate change that are within our sphere of control.Helen McKernan, President 2022