Awarded annually until 2020, the grants provide funding to early and mid-career individuals to develop their leadership skills, tackle big challenges, and make an impact in the field of natural resource and catchment management.

The grants support the Victorian Government's commitment to diversity and innovation in water and catchment management in line with Water for Victoria. All of our grant recipients are listed below. Click their names to learn more about some of the things they've been able to achieve with their grants.

2019 recipients

Jennifer Emeny: Member, Glenelg Hopkins Advisory Group and Open Space Planner, Warrnambool City Council

Jenny Emeny with Water Minister Lisa NevilleJenny is an Open Space Planner with Warrnambool City Council and has served three terms on the Glenelg Hopkins Advisory Group. Her experience in natural resource management is diverse, with over 18 years serving various roles in landcare, 12 years in local government, reserve management, dairy farming experience and has completed an Honours and PhD research in the Glenelg Hopkins region.

Jenny is very passionate about the south-west Victoria region and is interested in using her wealth of experience to progress to NRM-related board representation in the future. Jenny plans to attend two courses run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors- the ‘Company Director’ and ‘Boardroom Effectiveness for Women’ training courses. The Company Director training course will cover understanding the role of a board member, compliance issues, leadership, process stream lining and strategic focus on financial and risk management. The Boardroom Effectiveness for Women training course will help Jenny better understand the unique qualities women bring to a board and effective board participation.  

These courses will help Jenny develop the skills necessary to be an effective board member who is ready to take on an NRM-related board role and will complement her wealth of NRM experience in the region. She plans to share the knowledge and experience she gains through social media and other avenues.

Jacqueline Salter: Facilitator, Morning Peninsula Landcare Network

Jacqui Salter with Water Minister Lisa NevilleJacqui has studied and worked in the natural resource management field for over 20 years. She completed a PhD in Wetland Ecology in 2009 and since then has worked as an Environmental Education Officer for the Clean Ocean Foundation and as a teacher of the Diploma of Conservation and Land Management at Chisholm Institute. Since 2012 Jacqueline has been employed as a Landcare Facilitator for the Morning Peninsular Landcare Network where she supports 11 Landcare groups and collaborates with multiple government and not-for-profit agencies to delivery conservation projects.

Jacqui is passionate about promoting more women as role models in integrated catchment management and providing mentorship for those aspiring to become catchment leaders. Jacqui will attend the ‘2019 Women in Leadership’ program run by Leadership Victoria, an intensive 3-day workshop which supports participants to develop the skills and confidence to achieve their leadership potential. Jacqui will use the experience and knowledge she gains through this program to establish a mentoring program for women on the Mornington Peninsula and surrounds who are passionate about integrated catchment management and who would benefit from the support of experienced female leaders in the field. The mentoring program will run for six months from October 2019 to April 2020. It will consist of workshops and one-to-one support during this period and will provide a space for mentors to gain leadership experience and develop their support networks, and assist women just starting out in NRM to gain confidence in pursuing their career goals.

Danny Pettingill: Facilitator, Loddon Plains Landcare Network

Danny Pettingill with Water Minister Lisa NevilleDanny aspires to be at the forefront of innovation and new methods in natural resource management. He holds a Certificate IV in Conversation and Land Management, qualifications in horticulture and has gained NRM experience through his role as Facilitator for the Loddon Plains Landcare Network. He also possesses experience in community engagement working with land managers and delivering proposals for environmental projects.

Danny plans to undertake training at the Australian Groundwater School and the Mulloon Institute to further develop his understanding of hydrology, natural sequence farming and identifying and capitalising on natural assets within landscapes to enhance production and maximise year-round vegetation ground cover.

Danny will then apply his new knowledge to conduct small scale paddock research focused on water runoff, soil qualities, soil moisture and biodiversity of small vertebrates and invertebrates on-farm in the form of surveys as an indicator of on-farm biodiversity levels. He aims to compare conservation and vegetation coverage methods between a site under new management practices and a second farm as a control site.

The training will also allow Danny to better work with local farming enterprises and communities throughout the Loddon Plains area of central Victoria to raise awareness and introduce new practices in order to adapt to a drying climate.

Melinda Kennedy: Aboriginal Water Officer, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation

Melinda Kennedy with Water Minister Lisa NevilleMelinda possesses a wealth of cultural knowledge and experience in water custodianship and regularly liaises with water and catchment authorities, coast committees, water boards, local councils. She serves on several ministerial and senior government advisory committees because of her expertise and cultural knowledge. Melinda aspires to be a leader in Water Country custodianship, in particular for Wadawurrung Country. She would like to offer new knowledge, management ideas and innovative approaches to other Aboriginal communities that are seeking to guide quality water management futures.

Melinda will undertake a two-week visit to two key South Australian water precedents- River Torrens Linear Park, that has existed since the early 1970s, and the about-to-commence Sturt River Catchment Linear Park. The former traverses Kaurna Country under the care of the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) and the City of Adelaide Council land, which is now under the care of the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. The latter is being designed for the City of Marion Council in conjunction with the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board and is also under the care of the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

The visit will include an inspection and talking first hand with key Kaurna Elder(s) and the above-mentioned management bodies about the innovations, strategies, water trading and conservation initiatives and landscape design approaches used to manage these sites. Key learnings will be bought back to Victoria and shared with other Aboriginal Water Officers and representatives about new insights gained through the experience.

2018 recipients

2017 recipients

Sarah Halligan: Sustainable Land Management Coordinator, Port Phillip & Westernport CMA

Sarah undertook a leadership coaching course to build her skills to assist the development of the Women in Sustainable Agriculture (WiSA) leadership group founded in 2016

View Sarah's Story

Jaclyne Scally: Board member Great Ocean Road Coast Committee; Founding member, Ocean Grove Coastcare group

Jaclyne undertook a study tour through Australia and New Zealand, learning about innovative management approaches that achieve positive outcomes for the environment and private landholders in Victoria’s estuarine environments.

View Jaclyne's story

Marilyne Nicholls: Water Project Officer; Dja Dja Wurrung Enterprises

Marilyn undertook training in wetland ecology and management and received cultural mentorship from senior Traditional Owner community leaders with experience in cultural waterway management.

Bill Nicholson: Education Manager, Wurundjeri Council

Bill attended a fire workshop in Cape York to build cultural knowledge to support him in his role as an Elder, particularly on fire, ecology, and catchment management issues.

Page last updated: 17/12/19