‘We hope this message finds you well, in these unprecedented times …’ is by now a well-worn cliche, but still very true!
This is my first eNews update as AICCM National President and I hope your lives are returning to some semblance of normal as 2020 draws to a close.
I’d like to express my sincere thanks to our outgoing Executive members, Jennifer O’Connell as National President and Detlev Lueth as National Treasurer. They have both made enormous contributions to the AICCM and the profession, through improved planning and financial processes, and by supporting projects such as the website redevelopment and the 2019 Foresight Workshop. Jenny also led us through the next iteration of the AICCM Strategic Plan and Business Plan and worked really hard to advocate for AICCM’s interests in national forums. I intend to follow in their footsteps – to strengthen our financial and operational sustainability, to further support membership services, training and professional development, and to increase our role in advocacy.
Even though we had to postpone or cancel in-person AICCM events this year, we’ve still offered a surprising number of events online.
Many thanks to Emily Vearing and Lisa Mansfield for organising the Emerging Conservators and SC@M webinar series in partnership with AICCM (see https://aiccm.org.au/events-and-webinars/webinars/ec-scm-webinar-series/ to watch previous events), which were all excellent and extremely well attended.
In October, Blue Shield representatives Kay Soderlund and Julie McCarthy organised a members-only ‘Practical Preparedness and Response’ discussion for the International Day of Disaster Reduction, a topic particularly relevant this year after the bushfires of last spring and summer. Local bushfire recovery efforts were then further hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
In November, IIC generously offered AICCM members a discount registration to the IIC Edinburgh Conference. As part of the program, Julian Bickersteth, Sarah-Jane Rennie and Lisa Mansfield organised two special Q&A sessions for the Asia-Pacific timezone. This ‘local programming’ was particularly appreciated – the shift to low-cost, online conferences has been a silver lining of the pandemic, but the time difference can be a killer!
AICCM could not continue to function without the hard work of our paid Secretariat (Michelle Berry), Website Editor (Paul Coleman), Communications Officer (Zora Sanders), and Bookeeper (Hilary Milsome). Our volunteers on National Council and beyond ensure vital resources such as the AICCM Bulletin, eNews, Professional Membership program and AICCM Awards keep ticking over. Many thanks to them all.
And thank you for all that you do, individually and collectively, large or small, to support the conservation profession in Australia. The AICCM is at its core a support network, providing the infrastructure and financial backing to allow members to connect, debate, publish, and share information and expertise, and increasingly to advocate nationally for issues close to our hearts.
During this last year I’ve learned many things: that video conferencing is not nearly as awful as I thought it would be; that people are endlessly inventive and generous when it comes to figuring out new ways to organise and connect in times of adversity; that a decent internet connection and a webcam can take you all over the world and should now be considered basic and essential tools available to all; that being at home all the time doesn’t make it any more likely that I’ll take up daily yoga practice; and that our communities and networks are vital (also our green spaces, but now my list is getting quite long).
I’m glad that our AICCM community has remained intact throughout this strange year and I look forward to working with you all to reshape our world in its aftermath. Please get in touch if you have ideas about what changes you’d like to see.