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Plastic an environmental threat to wildlife: CSU ‘Trash talk’ seminar

Tuesday 4 Dec 2018

* UK expert to speak at CSU in Albury-Wodonga

* Plastic in the environment a huge and growing problem, with plastic ingestion by marine wildlife lethal

* Plastic rapidly accumulating in the most remote regions of the world

Dr Maggie Watson, lecturer in ornithology and seabird researcher in the CSU School of Environment Sciences and researcher in the Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) is hosting a seminar by a leading international expert.

Dr Watson announced that Dr Alex Bond (pictured left), Senior Curator in Charge of Birds at the Natural History Museum in London will present a seminar at 3pm Wednesday 5 December at the School of Environmental Sciences at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

The seminar is titled ‘Trash talk: The story of the shearwater and the bottle cap’.

Dr Watson explained that plastics are a long-lasting and increasingly problematic man-made problem in the environment which is injuring and killing increasing numbers of wildlife.

“There are an estimated five trillion pieces of plastic floating on and in the world’s oceans,” Dr Watson said.

“Increasingly, plastic that has broken down into very small pieces – microplastics − are contaminating the food chain.

“Plastic is extremely durable in the environment, but the very qualities that make plastics desirable materials for manufacturing have dire consequences for the environment, and each year more than 8 million items end up in the world’s oceans.

“Once there, these plastics act as sponges to absorb hydrophobic contaminants from the surrounding water, and are then often ingested by marine animals.

“Over the last decade, Dr Bond’s research has demonstrated the severity of the problem for some of the most affected species, the consequences of plastic ingestion for marine wildlife, and the rapid accumulation of plastic in the most remote regions of the world.”

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Maggie Watson and Dr Alex Bond.

The seminar ‘Trash talk: The story of the shearwater and the bottle cap’ by Dr Alex Bond is at 3pm Wednesday 5 December at the School of Environmental Sciences (building 760, in the Tea Room) at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Tickets available for public lecture by celebrity fish expert

Wednesday 31 Oct 2018

Fish expert and celebrity television host Dr Zeb Hogan (pictured left) will deliver a public lecture on Wednesday 12 December during the international Fish Passage 2018 conference to be held in Albury between 10 and 14 December 2018.

The lecture is part of the week-long Fish Passage 2018 conference, which will be hosted by the Charles Sturt University (CSU).Institute for Land, Water and Society, and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

The meeting gathers experts from around the world to discuss the latest technologies to help migrating fish such as the iconic Murray cod to negotiate dam walls and barrages and reach important breeding grounds.

The conference co-chair, Dr Lee Baumgartner, is recognised throughout Australia and South East Asia for his work in adapting fish passages to the needs of native fish and the local people who depend on these fisheries for food and recreation.

“A number of significant issues are affecting native fish populations in rivers in the Riverina, including the blocking of migration routes by dams and weirs,” Dr Baumgartner said.

“This conference will focus on how we can help our native species avoid or overcome some of these issues using smart technologies such as fishways, also known as or fish ladders.

The conference will also showcase innovative technologies used to monitor fish migrations like radio tags, acoustic tags, microchips and the “Salmon Cannon” from Whoosh Innovation. All will be on display during the conference and at the public lecture by Dr Hogan.

“Dr Hogan has long advocated for maintaining fish migration routes, which are essential for spawning and feeding. He is supporting our cause by showing off some of Australia’s megafish such as the Murray cod which have previously featured on his National Geographic show, Monster Fish,” Dr Baumgartner said, pictured left.

“Dr Hogan has caught megafish across the globe. He will take the audience on a journey on the importance of big fish and how migrations are essential for their long term survival.

“Entry is free and open to the public, and families are especially welcome. It will be a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to connect with all things fish.”

Tickets to hear about Dr Zeb’s amazing adventures with big fish are now available from the Albury Entertainment Centre, which will host the free lecture between 7 and 9 pm. A ticket will be required to gain entry and the event will open to the public from 6pm.

In addition to Dr Hogan, attendees will be able to view the scientific poster display and chat with exhibitors on a range of innovations related to fish.

Book here to attend the free Zeb Hogan lecture.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Lee Baumgartner, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

For details on the upcoming Fish Passage 2018 conference in Albury, go to the conference website.

Bootcamp to exercise innovators’ business brains

Wednesday 24 Oct 2018

* Innovative ideas from CSU-Hume Bank Life Tech Challenge 2018 have been invited to a CSU Bootcamp to advance business ideas

* Challenge entries were judged on creativity, use of technology, and impact on people

* CSU’s mission is to build skills and knowledge in its regions

Charles Sturt University (CSU) is hosting a weekend-long innovation boot camp for all finalists in the Hume Bank’s Life Tech Challenge 2018, starting on Friday 26 October.

The Hume Bank Life Tech Challenge 2018 gathered innovative people who have an idea to improve a standard of living through technology.

The CSU Innovation Bootcamp will be held at CSU in Albury-Wodonga from the afternoon of Friday 26 to Sunday 28 October. It is designed to take participants through the essential steps to propel their business ideas forward.

Director of Knowledge Exchange and Engagement in the CSU Research Office, Dr Laura Dan, said the initiative builds on the University’s long-term strategic commitment to the growth and development in the regions and communities across NSW.

“The Charles Sturt University innovation agenda supports the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem across its footprint, encourages interaction between small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the University, supports business innovation, and encourages jobs growth in the region.

“We were delighted to sponsor the Hume Bank Life Tech Challenge by providing access to the innovation boot camp, which is based on the successful CenWest Innovate model developed by the University.”

CSU has established three highly focussed incubators: the AgriTech Incubator in Wagga Wagga; CenWest Innovate in Bathurst; and the Walan Mayinygu Indigenous Entrepreneurship Pop Up Hub Program.

“Through these programs, Charles Sturt University provides tailored programs and technical support for growth, as well as business networking and training events which will be facilitated at a number of the University’s campus locations around NSW,” Dr Dan concluded.

Event details:

When: Friday 26 October from 6 to 8pm, Saturday 27 October from 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 28 October from 9am to 2pm.

Venue: Building 751, Room 112, CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona (park in Carpark P2).

Media Contact: Wes Ward,

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Laura Dan, who is travelling from CSU in Wagga Wagga.

CSU students explore occupational therapy for Indigenous Australians

Friday 19 Oct 2018

In their final activity at Charles Sturt University (CSU), fourth year students will explore the possibilities of their new careers as occupational therapists in a two day conference starting Wednesday 24 October at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

The CSU students will present papers on contemporary practice issues relevant to the provision of occupational therapy services to regional, rural and remote communities with a specific focus on Indigenous Australian people.

In her final year of the occupational therapy course, student Ms Gemma Wall hailed the conference initiative as an excellent way to showcase how far the students had progressed after four years of university study.

“During my course I learned much about the importance of culturally competent care and the impact this can have on improving health outcomes when working with culturally diverse clients such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Wall said.

In her conference presentation, Ms Wall is considering how to successfully implement a culturally sensitive self-management program for stroke rehabilitation in an Indigenous Australian community.

Ms Wall will draw from the Best Evidence for Stroke Therapy study being conducted at CSU in partnership with Albury Wodonga Health and Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.

Fellow student Ms Rachel Ralph said the conference was particularly relevant as new national standards for cultural competency in occupational therapy become effective in January 2019.

“The conference is important as it allows us to educate each other on how we can better our practice with Indigenous people,” Ms Ralph said.

Discipline Lead of the occupational therapy program in the CSU School of Community Health, Dr Tracey Parnell, said the conference allowed students to demonstrate what they had learned from their studies, and the intellectual rigour they can offer to the health of regional, rural and Indigenous Australians.

“The conference is the culmination of the four year course for these students. It provides an opportunity for them to show the breadth and depth of their knowledge in various areas of contemporary practice.”

“This year we also challenged the students to examine their chosen topic in relation to Indigenous Australians.”

Dr Parnell will welcome participants and students to the conference from 8.30 am on Wednesday 24 October at Room 101, Building 667 at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, Broomfield Court, Thurgoona.

The 26 student presentations include:

  • * Addressing Indigenous health inequality and the role of occupational health in ‘closing the gap’;
  • * Ageing in place in Indigenous Australian communities;
  • * The mental health implication of leaving the land;
  • * Challenges in accessing stroke rehabilitation in rural and remote areas; and
  • * Chronic pain and its impact on mental health.

The conference will be closed after 2pm on Thursday 25 October by the Head of the School of Community Health, Associate Professor Michael Curtin. The event coincides with national Occupational Therapy Week.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Tracey Parnell, conference coordinator Ms Rhiannon Memery and CSU occupational therapy students Ms Rachel Ralph and Ms Gemma Wall, all based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Foot health clinic for Albury-Wodonga residents

Friday 19 Oct 2018

Charles Sturt University (CSU) students and staff will promote the need for good foot health to Albury-Wodonga residents during an education day at the Community Engagement and Wellness (CEW) Centre on Wednesday 31 October at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Held as part of the annual October Foot Health Month run by the Australian Podiatry Council, the CSU podiatry team will provide an education session on foot health and a free foot health screening for all participants in the morning and afternoon sessions.

“Foot health is important not only because the feet are a key part of mobility, but feet are also the site of many early warning signs for conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease,” said CSU podiatry academic Associate Professor Caroline Robinson, pictured left.

“We need podiatrists in regional Australia to educate our aging population about the health of their feet and lower limbs, and encourage members of the community to take a more active role in maintaining their own foot health.”

The screenings during each education session will be provided by the final year podiatry students, supervised by the experienced staff in the CSU School of Community Health.

“Our podiatry students are especially prepared to work in regional Australia, and recognise and understand the needs of people living in remote and rural area,” Professor Robinson said.

Members of the public, particularly those aged over 50 years, can book a place in either the morning session (starting 9.30 am) or afternoon session (starting 1.30 pm) on telephone (02) 6051 9299. Bookings must be made by 5pm on Monday 29 October.

The session will be held in the CEW (building 715), in Ellis Street, Thurgoona (behind the Thurgoona Plaza shopping centre). Participants can park in Carpark P8 off Ellis Street.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Associate Professor Caroline Robinson, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

ILWS to host UN sustainable development goals workshop

Tuesday 16 Oct 2018

* CSU researchers to explore how to advance sustainable development goals

* UNAA representative to speak at workshop in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 18 October

The Charles Sturt University (CSU) Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) will host a one-day workshop in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 18 October to explore ways to engage with and support the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

Professor in Social Work and Human Services, Manohar Pawar (pictured), in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the ILWS, will lead the ‘Engaging with Sustainable Development Goals’ workshop.

Professor Pawar said that the special guest presenter at the workshop will be Ms Patricia Garcia, AO, National Program Manager for UN Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA).

“Ms Garcia will deliver a presentation about the current state of the sustainable development goals, and opportunities for networking, research and engagement in Australia,” Professor Pawar said.

“The ILWS’s work is closely linked to the 17 sustainable development goals.

“It is important to build awareness and capacity to significantly engage in the achievement of the sustainable development goals.

“At the workshop and thereafter, interdisciplinary scholars at Charles Sturt University will explore the potential ways they can engage with the sustainable development goals.”

The ILWS ‘Engaging with Sustainable Development Goals’ workshop will be held at the Gordon Beavan Building (building 673, level 4, room 410) at CSU in Albury-Wodonga from 9am to 4pm on Thursday 18 October.

Find out more about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals here:

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Professor Manohar Pawar.

CSU ‘Walkability’ research in Albury

Thursday 11 Oct 2018

* CSU research aims to make Albury city more walkable for residents

* Volunteers aged 65+ needed to assist research

* Walking improves health and wellbeing and increases access to social and economic life

People aged over 65 and living in Albury have extra incentive to pound the city’s pavements in coming weeks with new research being run by Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Working in collaboration with Albury City Council, CSU researchers Dr Rachel Whitsed and Dr Ana Horta from the CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society are measuring the ‘walkability’ of the city, specifically for older people.

“Extensive research tells us that walking improves health and wellbeing and allows increased access to social and economic life,” said Dr Whitsed, the team’s lead researcher.

“Now we want your help to make Albury city more walkable for you.”

As part of the project, the researchers are seeking participants aged over 65 to wear a small global positioning system (GPS) device for two weeks.

“We will be able to use this GPS data to map and measure walkability of Albury through the eyes, and shoes, of older people.”

Albury City councillor and Lavington resident Councillor David Thurley is helping promote the project to fellow residents.

“Walking is an important part of my life as an older person,” Councillor Thurley said.

“Albury City is keen to find out who is using the city’s paths and where, and why they are using them – and why not.

“It would be great to get as many people aged over 65 years as possible to take part in this project, as this will help the Council to improve facilities for use by all our citizens, including our older residents.”

This project might also be of interest to the carers and relatives of people living in Albury who are aged over 65 years. Find more information on the project website.

In addition, any Albury resident can complete a ‘Have a Say’ survey form on walkability in the city, available on the AlburyCity website.

To participate in the project, contact Ms Kris Gibbs on 6051 9992, or email

The Walkability Project will be launched at CSU in Albury-Wodonga at 10am on Thursday 11 October.

The project is supported by AlburyCity and the NSW government.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Rachel Whitsed.

Media can meet with Dr Whitsed, Dr Horta and Cr Thurley on Thursday 11 October to get interviews and see the GPS tracking system at work. The event will start at 10am near the School of Environmental Sciences building (go to car park P4), CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.

Social: @Thurl1947 #walkabilityCSU

Mountain bike track to open at CSU in Albury-Wodonga

Tuesday 9 Oct 2018

* New 1.7 kilometre cross-country mountain bike track to open at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 11 October

* Track will increase links with and demonstrate the value of the campus to the Albury-Wodonga community

* An example of CSU amenities to improve physical activity options for students and wider communities

A new mountain bike track to be opened at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 11 October recognises the growing popularity of the sport and its health benefits for the local community.

The University has built a 1.7 kilometre cross-country mountain bike track on the campus, and includes a 500 metre-long skills loop.

The track will be officially opened on Thursday 11 October by the Head of Campus at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, Dr Jennifer Munday; Executive Director of CSU Division of Student Services, Ms Jacqueline Clements; and Executive Director of the CSU Division of Facilities Management, Mr Stephen Butt.

The new facilities will be used by CSU students, particularly those attracted to the outdoor education, environmental science and health science courses offered at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Ms Hannah Gubb and Ms Chloe Grey will attend the opening on behalf of the students.

The facility is also open to the public, including local primary and public schools.

Mr Butt believes the trail is an excellent initiative that will increase links with and demonstrate the value of the campus to the Albury-Wodonga community.

“We have been given very positive feedback from local school-aged children and their parents who already ride the track, as well as by the University’s students and staff,” Mr Butt said.

“This project is a great example of how Charles Sturt University spends funds specifically targeted for amenities to improve physical activities for our students and the wider communities across all our campuses.”

The track, classified as ‘Easy’ by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, also incorporates optional ‘lines’ to the more technical trail features such as jumps, balance beams, and see-saws that are also available.

The track will be managed and maintained by the local CSU students, who will also measure the success of the facility.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Ms Jennifer Munday, who is based in Albury-Wodonga, and Mr Stephen Butt who is based in Wagga Wagga.

The official opening of the CSU mountain bike track will take place from 12.30pm on Thursday 11 October at the main entrance to the track, near the School of Education, CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona. Media are invited to park in car park P3 or P4 and walk to the nearby entrance. Ms Munday and Mr Butt will be available for interviews and pictures after the opening.There will also be a riding demonstration by local students.

Photo credit: Bathurst City Life

Women in regional trades: have your say on the Border

Wednesday 3 Oct 2018

* CSU researchers investigate shortage of women in trades in Border region

* Business and industry consultation in Albury-Wodonga on Friday 12 October

* A range of trades to be examined, and all welcome to contribute

A lack of skilled workers in traditionally male-dominated trades has become a major problem in regional Victoria and NSW, and a team of Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers is investigating how women can help address the problem.

The team is holding a half-day Women in Regional Trades consultation at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Friday 12 October to address the problem with the region’s business and industry community.

The CSU Women in Trades team is led by Dr Donna Bridges from the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and comprises Dr Stacey Jenkins, Associate Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, and Dr Larissa Bamberry from the CSU School of Management and Marketing.

“We are inviting representatives from industry, government and education providers to help us understand more about the recruitment and retention of women in the ‘traditional’ trades in regional NSW and Victoria,” said Dr Bamberry, pictured left.

“We particularly want to talk about targeting regional skill shortages in trades; understand and learn about removing barriers to women’s recruitment and retention in these trades; understand more about women who thrive and are successful in the trades; and learn how to better support young women to find trade careers and stay in regional Australia.

“We’ll focus mainly on the automotive, construction, electrical, horticultural, agricultural and plumbing industries in the region, however representatives from other industries are welcome to join us.”

The team has previously held similar events in Bathurst and Wagga Wagga, and is now particularly keen to hear from business owners and industry and training leaders on the Border and in North East Victoria.

The consultation are part of a research project aimed at retraining and growing the trades in regional Australia. Read more here

See more here.

Event details

When: 12 noon to 3 pm, Friday 12 October 2018.

Where: Room 106, Building 754, CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona, NSW.

RSVP to Ms Elizabeth Wulff on email or mobile 0400 326 084, or Dr Larissa Bamberry on email or phone (02) 6051 9843.

Free lunch and afternoon tea are provided on the day.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Larissa Bamberry, who is based in Albury-Wodonga, or Dr Donna Bridges, based in Bathurst, contact CSU Media.

Waiting for speech pathology: CSU research

Thursday 13 Sep 2018

Are you concerned with the time it takes for your child to get speech pathology services in the Goulburn Valley?

Charles Sturt University (CSU) doctoral student, Mrs Nicole McGill, is seeking your help in exploring how to best support children and families who are waiting for speech therapy.

“Children in the Goulburn Valley often wait up to 12 months to see a speech pathologist in the public system, and they can miss out on the benefits of early detection and intervention for speech and language difficulties,” said Mrs McGill, who also lives and works in the region as a speech pathologist.

In her research study, Mrs McGill is investigating the effectiveness of offering speech pathology assessments earlier for children aged between three and six years, rather than waiting up to 12 months for an assessment by a speech pathologist.

“As part of the study, we offer an assessment, a report, and a 6-month follow up assessment for eligible children while they are on the waiting list for speech therapy.  This means families can find out how well their child’s speech sounds and language skills are developing, far sooner than they usually would at the community health centre.

“We acknowledge that people on waiting lists for health care, including speech pathology, can experience feelings of stress, uncertainty and powerlessness. We want to know what the experience is like for families and how we can best support children and families while they wait for speech therapy.”

“We are looking for children aged between three and six years whose parents are concerned about their speech or language development. This may include children who are hard to understand and have difficulty producing clear speech sounds, or children who have trouble putting sentences together and following instructions.”

Mrs McGill noted, however, that there are some children who are not eligible to participate in her study.

“Children with complex communication and developmental needs or diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder or a diagnosed hearing loss are not eligible to participate in the research,” she said.

“And children must live within the Goulburn Valley Health catchment area, which includes Shepparton, Tatura, Numurkah, Euroa, Murchison, and Nathalia.”

To take part in the study, please call Ms Catherine Teskera at Community Health Speech Pathology, Goulburn Valley Health, on 1800 222 582 to make a referral. Enquiries can also be directed to Mrs Nicole McGill via email Recruitment for this study closes on 30 September.

The assessments as part of this study are completed at the community health centre in Shepparton.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mrs Nicole McGill, who is based in Shepparton, Victoria.

Read a past story on the project here.

Photo of Nicole McGill by Kellie Crosier Photography.

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