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Albury-Wodonga

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Endangered turtles at risk from illegal nets

Thursday 23 Nov 2017

Trapped long-necked turtleThe use of illegal nets is placing populations of endangered species of native turtles at risk in Australia's inland waterways says a Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert.

"Our research shows the unthinking actions of people who fish for yabbies using 'opera house' nets are depleting populations of turtles, even here in Albury-Wodonga," said CSU researcher Dr James Van Dyke (pictured left), a turtle and tortoise expert with CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society.

"I recently found a mature long-necked tortoise dead in one of these traps, which I pulled out of a dam in Thurgoona. Sadly, the female had got tangled in the trap and drowned.

"We know that there are very few young long-necked turtles left in the wild in southern Australia, particularly as foxes dig up over 95 percent of tortoise nests and eat the eggs and babies. So every unnecessary loss of an adult drives another nail in the coffin of this species as they take up to ten years to reach sexual maturity."

Dr Van Dyke hopes people will think twice about continuing to use these nets as they deplete many native species, not just turtles.

The busy researcher noted it is a busy time in general for native turtles, as they come out to nest during the spring storms.

"We are really keen to find where turtles are nesting and we have developed a mobile phone app to help us locate them," Dr Van Dyke said.

Members of the public can log the location of turtle nests they find at the TurtleSAT app, found here.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media for interviews with Dr James Van Dyke, who is based in Albury-Wodonga.

Picture caption: A dead turtle captured in an illegal 'opera house' net found in Albury-Wodonga.

CSU staff member paddles to world gold

Thursday 16 Nov 2017

Lisa SmallboneCharles Sturt University (CSU) staff member and paddler Dr Lisa Smallbone (pictured left) highlighted her sporting prowess as a member of the successful national dragon boat team, the Auroras, competing at the recent world championships in Kunming, China.

Dr Smallbone has returned to her Albury base with two gold medals as a member of the Australian Senior B Women's team that won both the 200-metre and 2000-metre championship finals. They defeated top teams from Canada and USA.

The keen sportsperson was part of a 200-strong national contingent that went to China for the championships, which were held from 18 to 22 October. This was the best result yet for the Australian Auroras at a world nations championship.

"It was a great honour to represent Australia and compete at such a high level," Dr Smallbone said.

"The racing was extremely close and we had to be highly focused and determined to beat Canada, who have dominated the masters division in world dragon boat racing in recent years.

"Their women's team had never been beaten before, and we managed to do it twice!"

Dr Smallbone is a member of Warriors Albury Wodonga Dragon Boat Club, based on the Border.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media for interview with Dr Lisa Smallbone, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Riverina-Murray literacy educators on the move

Tuesday 17 Oct 2017

Noella MackenzieLiteracy educators and parents in Albury-Wodonga and surrounding areas need to note two events and dates relevant to children's development of literacy and writing skills.

The Riverina-Murray Local Council of the Australian Literacy Educators' Association (ALEA) has recently relocated to Albury-Wodonga and will hold events for teachers in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 18 October and for parents/guardians at 7pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 1 November.

The president of the new local council of ALEA Riverina Murray, Dr Noella Mackenzie (pictured), who is also senior lecturer in the School of Education in Albury-Wodonga, said the event on Wednesday 18 October is to launch the ALEA Riverina-Murray council. The launch will be at the Albury Library Museum from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, and this workshop is for primary and secondary teachers.

The free parent forum titled 'Helping young children to draw and write' will be held at Wodonga Primary School from 7pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 1 November.

As a literacy development researcher, Dr Mackenzie will discuss the important drawing and writing milestones for children; the links between early drawing, writing and reading; some of the issues of writing in modern times such as hand writing and keyboarding; and ways for parents to support children as they learn to draw and write.

Dr Mackenzie said, "The teaching of writing and approaches to support children's development, have changed over time, reflecting shifts in theoretical models and perspectives of teaching and learning.

"Young children begin their writing journey creating meaning by combining talking, drawing, singing and role-playing, long before they engage in the mature written forms of their culture.

"If children see an advantage in being able to write, they will apply the same focused attention to learning how to write that they applied to learning to be oral language users.

"If we encourage and value drawing and talking, we can build a bridge between children's prior-to-school experiences, current systems of meaning-making, and the new system of writing. In this way, writing becomes a parallel means of meaning-making rather than a replacement for the drawing and talking they already do so well when they arrive at school.

"Children who are encouraged to draw, talk, write and share become confident, flexible writers who create more complex texts than when they are restricted to just writing," Dr Mackenzie said.

Dr Mackenzie explained that teaching handwriting and keyboarding has changed dramatically in the last decade with the rise of 'keyboarding', and it is this topic that she will discuss with teachers on Wednesday.

"Twenty or perhaps only ten years ago, learning to write by hand was an important milestone associated with starting school," she said. "Handwriting instruction began with pencils and printing (manuscript), with children graduating to pen and cursive script as they moved into the fourth year of school.

"According to the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, ACARA, 2016a) this is still the expectation of Australian schools.

"But in the last five or so years things have changed rapidly, as tablets and smart phones have become commonplace in many homes, with computers more visible in early childhood education settings and early years classrooms, and with the curriculum increasingly crowded. The accountability agenda that has resulted from high-stakes testing has also impacted what teachers in schools prioritise.

"However, to be literate in 21st century society requires the ability to flexibly create and interpret both print and digital texts. Most people use both keyboarding and handwriting at some stage throughout their day, as well as texting on their phone and/or using a touch screen on a digital tablet."

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Noella Mackenzie, senior lecturer in the School of Education in Albury-Wodonga.

Morning tea with sounds of silence

Thursday 5 Oct 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) students are hosting a silent morning tea to highlight what it might be like in a world without speech and using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods.

The students, enrolled in the CSU Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology degree based in Albury-Wodonga, will host the morning tea from 10am to 12pm on Friday 6 October at Junction Square in Wodonga as part of International AAC Awareness Month during October.

"Communication can take many forms; a word, a glance, a picture, a gesture," said Mrs Stacey Fisher, a speech pathology lecturer with the CSU School of Community Health.

"We have to find the best way to communicate with people who find speech difficult, including people with developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy, or an acquired disability, like brain injury and stroke.

"During our morning tea, the students and I want to show what it can be like to use alternative communication to communicate with others, and how we can make our community more accessible for people with a communication disability."

CSU speech pathology student Ms Alana Cameron said the morning tea was a great way to demonstrate technologies and methods available to people with disabilities for communicating with others.

"We have studied AAC in theory and practice in our course, and this is an opportunity to show the community what communication is possible in a real life situation," Ms Cameron said.

"By adopting simple communication strategies and raising awareness, we hope to make our community more accessible to those living with little to no speech."

The morning tea is free to the public and will commence at 10 am tomorrow, Friday 6 October.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

CSU lecturer Ms Stacey Fisher and students Ms Alana Cameron and Mr Allan Marsh will be available for interviews and pictures from 10am on Friday 6 October at Junction Square in Wodonga.  Contact CSU Media for further information and to arrange interviews.

In addition, the parent of children with communication difficulties will be available for interviews during the morning tea to give a personal perspective on living with people with communication disabilities.

Advice for parents on university options

Monday 18 Sep 2017

Parents of Year 11 and 12 students looking for guidance on the next steps for their children on their path to a university education can meet with representatives from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 21 September.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attend university if they want to," said the coordinator of the CSU Parent Information evenings, Ms Katy Fardell.

"A degree can open up a world of possibility for a person's future career, community, and personal development.

"Parents play an important role in helping their child make that choice by providing advice, guidance and support as they consider their options as they approach the end of their schooling.

"That's why Charles Sturt University is giving parents the opportunity to get first-hand information about studying at the University," Ms Fardell said.

"From applying, pathways and costs, to scholarships, accommodation and support, these events help parents help their child prepare for university."

In addition, the NSW University Admission Centre will also attend the Albury event to explain the ATAR score that their child receives after the Higher School Certificate exams, how it is calculated, and the university preference system.

The free CSU Parents Information Evening will run from 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the Stanley A Room in the Commercial Club Albury, Dean Street, Albury. Please register to attend here.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Ms Katy Fardell, contact CSU Media.

Supporting educational aspirations of people with disability

Friday 8 Sep 2017

People living with disability are looking to higher education as a path to engaging with meaningful activity in their community, particularly in regional areas. But can our regional universities support these aspirations?

Researchers from five universities including Charles Sturt University (CSU) are currently investigating the experiences of people with disability who aspire to complete a university course in regional Australia.

The research team is now calling for people with disability in regional areas from Wangaratta in Victoria to Port Macquarie in NSW to share their experiences of higher education, particularly those:

  • currently at high school in Years 10 and 11 and who are interested to go to university; and,
  • mature aged people who  haven't been to university but are interested in study.

Clare Wilding"We want to interview volunteers from regional communities to understand their perceptions of higher education. We are investigating the barriers for people with disability in undertaking a university course," said CSU researcher Dr Clare Wilding.

"The uptake of higher education by people with disability is lower in regional areas than for their city counterparts," Dr Wilding said.

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people with disability are more likely to have lower levels of educational attainment. Furthermore, data from the bureau showed that there are more people aged 15 to 64 years living with disability in regional areas – around 18 per cent - than those living in major cities, which is 13 per cent. So we should see a higher proportion of students with disability from regional areas attending university."

"However, only two per cent of people with disability living in Australia's regional or remote areas are currently studying in higher education, compared with four per cent in a major city.

"We want to find out why this pattern is happening, and how universities, governments and the community can address the problem," she said.

As part of the project, the researchers have already surveyed and interviewed students with disability who are currently enrolled in regional universities.

"Through this research, we hope to improve access and participation in higher education by regional people with disability, particularly those from a low socio-economic background," Dr Wilding said.

The upcoming round of interviews will be conducted using media to suit the volunteer participants: by telephone, instant messaging, Skype, email or face-to-face. People wishing to participate should contact Ms Kate Freire on (02) 6051 9355 or email kfreire@csu.edu.au.

The researchers aim to complete and analyse the interviews before the end of 2017, and report final recommendations to the Federal Department of Education by the middle of 2018.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Interviews with project researcher Dr Clare Wilding are available through CSU Media.

The research project, titled "Understanding how regionality and socioeconomic status intersect with disability", is funded by the Federal Department of Education.

The project has been approved by the CSU Human Ethics Committee, project number H17124.

Other partners in the project are Federation University in Victoria, and University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University and James Cook University in Queensland.

Hope, recovery, resilience for beyondblue speaker in Albury

Thursday 17 Aug 2017

Ms Rebecca Moore has seen her share of mental illness.

She will share her personal journey of hope, recovery and resilience in the face of depression and anxiety as part of the Explorations Series public lecture at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Tuesday 22 August.

Ms Moore spent most of her career in the airline industry as a flight attendant and is a volunteer speaker for beyondblue, a national organisation that works to raise awareness about anxiety and depression, reduce the associated stigma, and encourage people to seek help.

She became a speaker because she wanted to 'pay it forward' by encouraging others to talk to their friends or doctor if they feel they may have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In addition to speaking about her own experiences, she will also outline how the audience can seek help, or support a friend or family member who may find themselves in a difficult position.

Ms Moore's interests include running, yoga, reading, going to concerts and music festivals - she is a big fan of Kylie Minogue - and is currently completing study in nutritional medicine. Ms Moore is also a proud mother of two boys, aged three and five.

Ms Moore's free public lecture, titled 'Hope, recovery and resilience', will run from 7pm to 8pm on Tuesday 22 August in the CD Blake Auditorium (room 104), building 751 (car park 2), off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.

To attend this free public lecture, and for catering purposes as the lecture is followed by light refreshments, please register for this event.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For more information, contact Regional Relations Assistant Ms Wendy Rose Davison via email alburywodonga@csu.edu.au or phone (02) 6051 9806.

North-East consultant to build leadership skills

Monday 10 Jul 2017

A marketing consultant to the agribusiness sectors in North-East Victoria aims to increase her skills to help expand opportunities in these industries through a leadership program starting this month at Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Ms Alison Lloyd aims to learn the leadership skills she needs to help the local food and wine industries take advantage of the growing opportunities offered through tourism in the region.

"I believe there is great potential offered by the emerging agri-tourism sector. Visitors from major Australian cities and overseas are enthralled by the environment and quality produce of our region, and they want more," Ms Lloyd said.

"I want to help local businesses create attractive experiences for these visitors, and tell their stories far and wide."

To obtain these advanced leadership skills, Ms Lloyd is taking part in the 12-month Regional Leadership Program Course being offered by CSU at the Wangaratta Regional Study Centre.

"I will need to draw on highly developed skills in communication, project management and stakeholder engagement," she said.

"It's not an easy thing to do, to bring together the interests and concerns of a wide group of people into a single vision - so I need every skill I can get, which I aim to get through this program."

The CSU Regional Leadership Program builds on the personal and skills development in the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program which Ms Lloyd recently completed.

Ms Lloyd currently works extensively with the regional 'Wines of the King Valley' marketing board and is a board member with the Beechworth Food Co-op.

Coordinator of the CSU Regional Leadership Program, Ms Ilena Young, noted that the program can also lead to the Master of Business Leadership, also offered through CSU.

"I am delighted to get this inaugural program off the ground in the region.  We have had interest from people in such varied sectors as health, environmental management, education and planning, all of them located in North-East Victoria," Ms Young said.

The first two-day module of the Regional Leadership Program commences at the Wangaratta Regional Study Centre, 218 Tone Road, Wangaratta, on Thursday 27 July.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Ms Alison Lloyd or Ms Ilena Young, contact CSU Media.

Robots get partnership grant from CSU

Sunday 11 Jun 2017

Robot carA project to provide equipment to teach robotics in a Corowa school has been awarded $1 000 through the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Community-University Partnerships (CUP) program.

Principal at St Mary's Primary School in Corowa, Mr Glenn McMahon, said the grant will be used to purchase robots to enhance the coding education already practiced at the school.

"This is part of our push to encourage education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in our schools," Mr McMahon said.

"For example, in our school we want to develop a rural hub for digital technology and STEM education accessible to 40 schools within one hour drive of Corowa.

"We are so excited to have been the recipients of this grant. We can't wait to put it into action," Mr McMahon said.

In the latest round of grants, the University provided around $25,000 for community projects across all its campuses, from Albury-Wodonga to Port Macquarie.

Head of Campus at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, Dr Jenni Munday, said "the CUP program supports the development of our regions through contributions to cultural, economic, sporting and related activities.

"It also builds aspirations and awareness of higher education particularly among young people living in rural and regional communities.

"This year saw a number of CUP grants awarded to projects involving STEM education in regional schools.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with St Mary's school principal, Mr Glenn McMahon, call CSU Media.

More information on the CUP grants is here.

‘Spanner in the Works’ for Albury

Thursday 18 May 2017

Older men from around southern NSW and north-east Victoria will be checked for any 'spanners in their health works' on Wednesday 24 May at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga.

During the afternoon event known as 'Spanner in the Works', members of 12 Men's Sheds – from Henty in the north and south to Beechworth – and two Albury-based service clubs will receive free health checks from students enrolled in podiatry, physiotherapy and occupational therapy degrees at CSU. They will be supervised by CSU staff as part of a national program funded by the federal Department of Health.

Event coordinator and clinical supervisor with CSU's School of Community Health, Mr Brent Smith, said during the afternoon up to 100 members of Men's Sheds will be tested for health related issues and blood pressure, as well as podiatry and physiotherapy screening.

A healthy lunch will be prepared by Albury High School students, and Lavington Lions Club will provide afternoon tea.

"Participants will also receive advice on physiotherapy relevant to their age group, first aid and general medical advice from guest speakers," said Mr Smith, who is also supervisor for CSU's Centre for Community Engagement and Wellness, or CEW.

The program's founder and a director with the Australian Men's Shed Association, Mr Gary Green, will travel to Albury to explain the program to the participants and sponsors.

The program is also sponsored locally by the Hume Bank.

The event will be start at 12noon at the CEW, Ellis St, Thurgoona (behind Thurgoona Plaza), and runs until 4.30pm.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Federal member for Farrer, Ms Sussan Ley MP will be available to speak on the upcoming 'Spanner in the Works' event at 10.30am on Saturday 20 May at the Albury North Manual Activities Centre, Nowland Ave, Lavington.

For interviews before and during the 'Spanner in the Works' event on Wednesday 24 May, including with Mr Brent Smith, contact CSU Media.

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