Our Waterway Management Twinning Program Graduates: R to L back row – Lucy Cameron, Craig Copeland, Siwan Lovett (facilitator), Alanna Wright, James Shaddick, Renae Ayres. R to L front row – Lisette Mill, Adam Bester, Gavin Brock, Emma Wolters, Stephen Ryan
On a cold and blustery day at Lady Bay in Warnambool, Victoria, our inaugural Waterway Management Twinning Program participants came together to reflect on their year of working together, and to share their stories with others. The Program has used a mentoring approach, where partnerships have been created to focus on a particular waterway management issue. The issues chosen by this year’s participants have been wide ranging – how to effectively engage communities, scaling up (pardon the pun!) fish habitat restoration projects from small reach to catchment, how to make monitoring and evaluation reporting meaningful, and implementing the latest riparian restoration techniques.
The amount that was achieved over one year of working together is nothing short of amazing, and we have been so pleased that the Program has worked so well in bringing people together. Mentoring is a powerful way of effecting change in organisations. This is because mentoring focuses on supporting an individual to achieve their goals in a way that is collaborative, personal and uniquely human. People are social beings, yet in our fast-paced world we often neglect to invest in the relationships with peers and colleagues that sustain us. Mentoring creates an opportunity for two people to develop a relationship of trust and respect, and to work on a project that combines their skills, expertise and enthusiasm.
In addition to the mentoring partnership, is the network of peers we created by bringing participants together on three occasions to share experiences and learn from each other. We did this based on findings from both private and public sector organisations about how best to maximise the impact of mentoring and leadership programs, as this quote confirms:
The response from the ten participants involved has been overwhelmingly positive, with solid relationships established and a range of projects undertaken. What has become clear, is that there are very few opportunities for people working in natural resources management to access the sorts of resources and support the Waterway Twinning Management Program has provided. Most coaching and leadership programs are beyond the reach of people due to their highly competitive nature, or cost. Mentoring is, in contrast, relatively inexpensive, and develops skills that can be taken back into the workplace and easily shared with others.
Our class of 2015-2016 Waterway Management Twinning Program partnerships are:
- Lucy Cameron (Glenelg Hopkins CMA) and James Shaddick (North Central CMA)
- Lisette Mill (Basalt to Bay) and Gavin Brock/Alanna Wright (Melbourne Water)
- Craig Copeland (OzFish) and Stephen Ryan (Glenelg Hopkins CMA) and Renae Ayres (Arthur Rylah Institute)
- Adam Bester (Glenelg Hopkins CMA) and Emma Wolters (North Central CMA)
This great group of people now form our Alumni and they are already working on ways to share what they have learnt with others.
In light of the success of this Program we are delighted that the Victorian Department of Water Environment Land and Planning has provided us with ongoing funding for another two years! This funding will enable us to establish a new website – twinningiswinning.com.au – as well as being able to offer the program to Victorians working in waterway management in 2017 and 2018. The ARRC and Glenelg Hopkins CMA will continue their great partnership and deliver the Program.