Starting the new year

As always after the AGM, we prepare ourselves for the new year, reassign the tasks and responsibilities among Board members and set our targets for the new year (2015-2016). The Strategic Plan we created in 2013 is still guiding our efforts, but each year we prepare an Operational Plan that sets out the tasks for the year ahead.

Each Board member has responsibility for leading a number of activities, and builds small workgroups (typically with three to five members) to help them achieve their objectives.

Over the next two months I will ask each Board member to describe the main tasks they are working on and what they hope to achieve.

The new Board

I am happy to announce that, following approval of the new rules concerning Individual Supporter members at the August Board meeting, it was unanimously agreed to appoint Peter Campbell to be a Board member for 2015-2016 to fill the remaining vacant Board position.

Many of you will know Peter as the convener of the Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) committee. As such, he has frequently attended Board meetings, and so he begins his time formally on the Board with much experience of how Bushwalking Victoria operates.

We therefore have four new board members this year. I have asked each of them to describe their background and experience in their own words.

Hadi Hezaveh

Hadi Hezaveh

Although Hadi joined the Board in March, this is his first full year as a Board member. His main focus will be on the needs of Individual Supporter members, but will also be taking a role in maintaining and building the Bushwalking Victoria website. We also expect to draw on his expertise in the use of social media.

Hadi writes: I was born in Arak, Iran in 1987. I studied maths and physics at high school then I studied for a Batchelor of Chemical Engineering (graduated 2009) in Arak. I did my Masters in Chemical Engineering at UTM in Malaysia (graduated 2012). I continued my studies in biomedical engineering at University of Queensland in 2013. Currently I am doing my PhD in Biomedical Engineering in at CSIRO's Clayton site.

I co-founded the Iranian Bushwalkers Club in August 2104 and have been Secretary of the club since then.

I have a particular interest in outdoor activities, including bushwalking and rock climbing. In Iran, I joined a group of mountain climbers in 2000. We mostly climbed mountains in west and central regions of Iran.

I am a Board member of the Australian-Iranian Society of Victoria (AISOV).I am also interested in landscape and abstract photography, traditional Persian music and literature.

Philip Davis

Philip Davis

Philip has agreed to take on the role of Bushwalking Victoria's Secretary – a big role for a new Board member! Philip was formerly a Victorian Upper House member for East Gippsland and is a member of the Ben Cruachan Bushwalking Club. Philip has identified his initial tasks as reviewing and improving Bushwalking Victoria's information management processes and looking at how we can build the organisation to prepare for future growth.

Philip writes: I was born at Maffra in Gippsland to a farming family. My education and training focussed on agriculture and business. My career included a brief period working in the oil and gas industry, then farming - growing sheep for wool and raising beef cattle - for three decades.

I was actively involved in representing Victorian farmers at state and national levels for more than a decade. This was followed by more than two decades representing Gippsland in the Victorian Parliament. While a member, I was actively involved in land and resource management issues, and advocated for improved management of public land including improving access for walkers. I was Chairman of Victorian Government's Trails Coordinating Committee for four years until mid-2015 and I am currently a member-of the Alpine Advisory Committee.

My bushwalking involvement commenced in late primary school, including scouting, army cadets and extensive school outdoor education programs. School holidays were frequently filled with trips to the Victorian High Country and Wilsons Promontory for camping and hiking. With the pressure of work and family these adventures declined until 2008 when 'normal operations' resumed.
My favourite region for walking is the Alpine Park. My favourite day walk is at Mount Howitt. My favourite multiday trip is Mount Skene to King Billy.

Joslin Guest

Joslin Guest

Joslin is a member of the Boroondara Bushwalkers Inc. She has been editor of Bushwalking News Victoria for some years now. She will take responsibility for communications and publicity and will help us drive a higher profile for Bushwalking Victoria in forthcoming years.

Joslin writes: I was educated at: Auburn Central School, University High School, University of Melbourne (Commerce) and University of Sydney (Agricultural Economics). I have worked as an agricultural economist, transport economist, documentation analyst and process mapper.

I was introduced to bushwalking by my husband John, who, with his brothers, pack carried regularly in the Victorian Alps.

I am a member of Boroondara Bushwalkers where I have held various committee positions, including President. I am a member of the Bushwalking Tracks and Conservation
committee. I have been Bushwalking Victoria's Publication and News Editor for a number of years.

I like all levels of bushwalking, love Lerderderg Gorge, and I am particularly interested in conservation of the bushwalking environment and in conservation matters generally.

Peter Campbell

Peter Campbell

As I mentioned above, Peter has been the convener of the BSAR committee and is an Individual Supporter member of Bushwalking Victoria. He brings not only his experience as a bushwalker and in bush safety and rescue, but also strong IT skills. Apart from his BSAR role, Peter will be working with Hadi on how we can best meet the needs of our Individual Supporter members. He is also leading the group evaluating the SafeTrx package for terrestrial use.

Peter writes: I joined BSAR over 30 years ago when I was a member of the LaTrobe Mountaineering Club (LMC) and have participated in numerous searches and training weekends since. I served on the BSAR committee as LMC club delegate for 15 years and, more recently, as a Field Organiser since 1993.

My preferred outdoor activities range from mountaineering and photography through to cycling and kite surfing.
My particular interest in mountaineering saw me take on organising of the BSAR steep snow and ice (SSI) training weekends since 1995. During this time I reviewed and developed our processes around SSI, clarifying the level of specialist skill and experience that members require for these searches.

I have attended 18 searches since 1983.

More recently I undertook the complete revision and update of the BSAR website with the objective of substantially improving BSAR's interface with members and its profile in the community.

Looking ahead

I am sure you will agree with me that we have a strong, talented board for 2015-2016 which will work very hard to ensure that Bushwalking Victoria will continue to be the strongest voice it can for the Victorian bushwalking community.

Bushwalking leader training

The Extended Walks Leader course, covering pack carries, base camps, and additional navigation and leadership skills is now complete. We plan to upload it to the Bushwalking Victoria website next week from where it will be available for free to all clubs. Once again, a big thankyou to the dedicated group that has made it all happen, and to the bushwalking clubs who have contributed material, time and effort to build the course.

Board contacts program

I believe the first full year of the Board-club contacts program has been very successful, and this program will continue. Wherever possible, clubs will keep the same Board contact as last year, but, of course, some changes will occur because of retiring and new Board members. I will be writing to all clubs in the immediate future to let them know their Board contact for 2015-2016.

Tony Walker, President, Bushwalking Victoria

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Bushwalking Victoria's advocacy efforts aim to proactively influence decisions that impact on bushwalking and bushwalkers in Victoria, by engaging with key decision makers and land managers such as Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)to ensure that bushwalking issues and opportunities are understood and considered when policies and decisions are made that impact on the bushwalking community in Victoria.

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