ENVIRONMENTALIST, role model, leader and inspiration are just some of the words to describe Lyn Coulston OAM, the inaugural inductee into the North East Catchment Management Authority International Women’s Day Honour Roll.
North East CMA Interim CEO Tony Long said: “Lyn’s contribution to the environment and communities in north east Victoria is staggering. For more than 30 years Lyn has founded, supported and promoted Landcare groups in the Upper Murray area. She helped form about 18 blackberry and weed eradication action groups across Victoria through the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce. She has been a tireless campaigner for sustainable production, development and improved land management.
“Lyn is a strong advocate for community involvement in natural resource management, and building community capacity through the formation of groups and partnerships to tackle environmental issues. One of Lyn’s great strengths has been forging strong and lasting partnerships between community, agencies, land managers and other government groups,” Mr Long said.
North East CMA isn’t the first organisation to recognise Lyn’s unwavering dedication to the environment and rural communities. In 2014 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and in 2015 she was the inaugural winner of the Joan Kirner Landcare Award in the Victorian Landcare Awards.
Mrs Coulston said: “I am very pleased to be nominated and selected for the North East CMA International Women’s Day Honour Roll. Recognising the role women have in all aspects of local environmental management is a welcome and timely initiative of the North East CMA. There will not be a shortage of future nominees.
“Working in a diversity of roles over the years I know the contribution many women make to the active management and improvement of our catchment. Innovation, leadership and support provided by women over many years is reflected in the strong partnerships, longevity and achievements of many of the natural resource management focused groups in this area,” she said.
“My passion and intention has always been to look after the land and water on which we all depend and to support others to do the same. Everyone who has land to manage wants to maintain and improve it but there are many barriers to doing so. Having a conversation is often the starting point that leads to assistance and support and better results on ground.
“There have been challenges all the way and many are the same ones we had 40 years ago. Weeds, pest animals, impacts on water quality, government policies. These are important issues to people managing a patch of land, big or small. Exciting opportunities are emerging to find new ways of addressing old problems.
“Nurture, respect, protect makes a lot of sense in land management. Repair, restore, renew requires greater effort and investment but we do a lot more of it. Education is the key to understanding how to turn this around.”