Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Moving to Australia is a big deal. The logistics of it occupied most of time before leaving but once I arrived here it hit me that I had to come up with a research topic as 25% of my masters degree is research and the other 75% is coursework. As I'm kind of a big picture environmental issue person, I expected to have some difficulty in deciding what to focus on. Most people look at very specific things like ant behavior in x type of soil during drought. No thanks.

So I started talking with lecturers and professors to get some ideas of who's working on what and what sounds interesting. Amazingly enough, a research project has amazingly come together quite nicely and painlessly. There is a new initiative on campus called Learning Communities. The idea is to get students outside of the classroom working on projects with students of other disciplines. ANUgreen, which is the campus environmental management organization, is heading up a Sustainability Learning Community (SLC) to work on environmental initiatives on campus. You may remember that I was planting trees with this group earlier in the semester. Of course I was interested in this especially after having worked in environmental education last year. And I find that they wanted to get a postgrad involved in the project to do assessment and facilitate projects so I'm now working on an independent research project involving the SLC and I'm going to be trained to assess their outcomes. Which has now suddenly turned into a job and an internship with ANUgreen! Nice thing to add to the CV. The job is only a few hours a week (five to seven) to work on organizing projects and trips and the internship is at the end of the semester to write up my findings, which I'll have to do anyway in a 5000 word essay for my research project. And they're both paid. Neat, eh?

Currently one of the big things I'm working on is a debate for World Environment Day on 5 June on the topic of Australia's response to climate change. I'm even trying to get local politicians involved along with students and academics. Wish me luck on that one! I'm also organizing a field trip to a local organic farm and a chance for students to talk with gardeners as there is interest in starting a garden plot on campus.

So if you hear me saying how ridiculously busy I am in personal emails (or more likely, don't get any personal emails at all) you'll know why!


  1. Sounds like a great project. I'll be interested in how you find the organic farm. There is a winery we visited in Sonoma that only uses specific plants to attract or discourage various insects.

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