2015 Hassell scholarship rewards landscape innovation

Australian agricultural biodiversity project clinches annual award
Australian agricultural biodiversity project clinches annual award

Hassell has announced that student Christie Stewart from the University of Western Australia is the winner of the 2015 Hassell Travelling Scholarship – Robin Edmond Award.

Christie’s research project, ‘Ameliorating agriculture: Cultivating Biodiversity’, explores ‘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’.

Her landscape strategy combines GIS (geographic information systems) mapping, precision agriculture methodology and an iterative design approach to address the sources of degradation at her family farm and in the regional landscape. Identifies opportunities to modify farming practices and restore natural processes to increase agricultural yield, while improving the health and resilience of the land.

Christie was selected as the winner following interviews with 18 students, nominated by seven participating Australian universities.

‘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,’ says Hassell’s head of landscape architecture Angus Bruce.

‘Christie articulated her research and design proposals effectively and passionately,’ he adds. ‘The illustration of her concepts and supporting photography vividly communicate her connection to the land and her aspirations for its future. The integration of methodologies not typically used by landscape architects indicates Christie’s capacity to innovate to achieve optimum outcomes for her projects.’

Thanks to the Hassell scholarship, Christie says, she will be able to visit Precision Agriculture, in Queensland, ‘and get a first-hand understanding of the breadth and application of the agricultural technology available’.

She is 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.

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