Meet a Geographer — Caring for the environment

Robert EdkinsRobert Edkins

Chief Executive Officer – South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc.
Western Australia

South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc. is the regional group for Natural Resource Management (NRM) on the South Coast of Western Australia.  We are committed to the sustainable long-term management of our natural environment that will have positive social and economic outcomes.  A major activity for our organisation is to co-ordinate and administer funding that has been allocated from the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia, for NRM activity through the joint National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) program and the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT).

Work Description

I also do the exciting stuff that ensures the South Coast Region’s unique natural assets are protected, recovered and enhanced.As the CEO of South Coast NRM I oversee the management of the whole operation. I deal with staff management, contact management and project management. I get to do the boring but important stuff that insures staff are well managed and protected in the workplace. I also do the exciting stuff that ensures the South Coast Region’s unique natural assets are protected, recovered and enhanced. I manage a staff of 50 people who are both office based and field based across the South Coast Region.

The best aspects of my job

No two days are the same!  The work we are doing is really important as we involve all the community of the South Coast of WA in helping to protect, recover and enhance the environment. I really enjoy the challenge and hard work and do this because we are really making a difference. I enjoy watching the community get a real kick out of making a positive difference to the environment.

Prior studies

Prior to starting full time work I studied Geography in Year 11 and 12 and then undertook subjects such as (Ecology and the Environment, Integrated Catchment Management, Environmental Management Techniques, and Landscape Ecology) when completing my Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) at Deakin University.

Career pathway

I went farming for 8 years after I left school and then went to university as a mature age student.I started out as a farmer! I went farming for 8 years after I left school (5 in the UK) and then went to university as a mature age student. I was first employed by the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia as a Landcare Development Officer. I was seconded to another government department, the Water and Rivers Commission, to manage a project that was belonged to the Avon Catchment Council (community NRM Group of the Avon in WA). In 2003 I left the WA Government to work for the ACC. In 2004 I took up the position of CEO for South Coast NRM Inc.

Future career opportunities

I am pretty well at the top as the CEO. There are many opportunities if I decide to go back into government to influence decision makers on the important role community and community groups such as the ACC and South Coast NRM do in protecting, enhancing and recovering important and unique natural assets of the country.

Advice to people considering this type of career

I think everyone should travel before entering into tertiary studies from schooling.I think everyone should travel before entering into tertiary studies from schooling. We all need to get out and experience the world!  As a mature age student I was fully ready and prepared to study for my Honours. People should study both physical and social elements. It is the people that make things happen!