HASSELL has announced Christie Stewart from the University of Western Australia as the winner of the 2015 HASSELL Travelling Scholarship – Robin Edmond Award.
Christie was selected following interviews with 18 students, nominated by the seven participating universities around Australia. Her research project, Ameliorating Agriculture: Cultivating Biodiversity, explored the integration of environmental and ecological systems design with emerging precision agriculture technology as an innovative approach to the sustainability challenges facing broadacre farmers in Western Australia’s wheatbelt.
Christie knows first-hand that for farmers the health of the land is both their livelihood and identity. Using her family’s farm in the Wongan-Ballidu Shire as a test case, Christie aimed to achieve an integrated agricultural framework that can secure long-term viability.
Her landscape strategy combined GIS (geographic information systems) mapping, precision agriculture methodology and an iterative design approach to address the sources of degradation in the farm and the regional landscape. Christie identified opportunities to modify farming practices and restore natural processes to increase agricultural yield, while improving the health and resilience of the land.
HASSELL Head of Landscape Architecture, Angus Bruce said: “We commend Christie for applying her studies to a challenge of great importance; one that is vital to an industry providing for the wider population, and to the custodians of such significant parcels of the Australian landscape.”
Christie is excited about the prospect of travelling to expand upon her awarded research project. “I’m also hoping to visit other agricultural properties that are successfully sustaining natural biodiversity to see how owners manage to heal their land and remain viable.”
The HASSELL Travelling Scholarship – Robin Edmond Award is an annual award that recognises graduating landscape architecture students who show outstanding potential for future contribution to the profession.
Images | Christie Stewart