Victorian-born Andrew Shanks first visited WA in the mid-1990’s, and after travelling through country areas, fell in love with the place and decided to make the move permanent.
He now calls Wongan Hills home, and has become the latest port of call for landowners and community groups needing advice on how to plant trees, improve soils, protect remnant vegetation and source funding for natural resource management projects
. His role as the Wheatbelt NRM Community Support Officer will also serve the wider district including Dowerin and Goomalling.
“I have a background in forestry after studying at the University of Melbourne and have since spent time working for DAFWA, Intergrain and DEC,” Andrew Shanks said.
“I’m keen to take the job on because it is an opportunity to work locally and improve the community I live in.
“The biggest challenge at the moment is helping to keep farming viable in the current climate.
“Natural resource management is more than just locking up land and planting trees.
“We need to be actively improving our soils and this way we can improve sustainability through different farming practices.”
Wheatbelt NRM operations manager Rebecca Palumbo said funding for the 12-month position came through the WA government’s State NRM program.
“We’ve asked for funding for the position because we’ve identified a gap in the district in terms of professional landcare support,” Rebecca Palumbo said.
“We hope Andrew will be an important source of support for land holders across the Wongan Hills, Dowerin and Goomalling areas as well as supporting local councils.
“Wongan Hills has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot due to the different range of plants there, and has an active and successful farming community.”
Andrew Shanks will work two days a week in the position and can be contacted on 0438265028.