Conservation on open day agenda

Countryman

A host of thought-provoking commentators on contemporary Australian agriculture will feature at a community open day to be held at Charles Darwin Reserve this Saturday.

Presented by Bush Heritage Australia and the Shire of Perenjori, the open day precedes a Blues for the Bush concert at the conservation reserve formerly known as White Wells Station, 65km east of Perenjori.

The program includes tours of the reserve conducted by conservation scientists, cooking demonstrations by the Slow Food movement, children's activities ranging from mural-painting to kite flying, and interviews of people who call Perenjori home conducted by former ABC broadcaster and oral historian Bill Bunbury.

It includes short talks by leading rural and agricultural experts on Food for Thought on managing land for food, that has attracted strong interest from farmers and pastoralists in the region.

Compiled by Dean Revell, a principal research scientist at CSIRO, the Food for Thought program features short presentations by farmers, scientists and rural development consultants, designed to challenge and inspire those on the land dealing with change.

Dr Revell helped establish the national Enrich research project on the use of native shrubs and behaviour-based grazing management that won the 2013 Australian Museum Eureka Award for Sustainable Management.

Professor Ted Lefroy from the Centre for Environment at the University of Tasmania will examine the legacy of Charles Darwin and argue his theories on adaptation are today as relevant to farmers as nature conservationists.

Catherine Marriott, the 2012 RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year and principal of her own business, Influential Women, will discuss communication and the urgent need for farmers to be more proactive in bridging the gap between urban and rural Australia.

Greg Brennan will use his extensive experience of the challenges faced in the southern Rangelands to examine the use of technology and ecology in managing extensive landscapes.

Sue Middleton, the 2010 RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year, a successful farmer, rural development consultant and industry adviser, will explain the art of having a conversation with the future.

All community open day activities at the Charles Darwin Reserve are free.

Full details can be obtained from www.bluesforthebush.org.au .

The open day will be followed by a ticketed, open air Blues for the Bush concert.

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