The VSTWP contracts three Extension Officers to develop and implement community-led targeted extension projects in the regions around the containment line, and within the core infestation area. All of the extension officers have a strong background in agricultural science and invasive plants, as well as previous experience in serrated tussock management.
Please find a biography on each of our three extension officers below, with a fourth extension officer likely to be contracted in the coming months.
Tim Johnston joined the VSTWP as Extension Officer for the Southern Corangamite region in June 2016. He has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (LaTrobe University) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Climate Change (University of Melbourne), and 17 years of employment at the Department of Primary Industries (1995-2012) as a research scientist, project manager and extension officer.
His main work area has been soil and water science and grain crop agronomy in south west Victoria, with particular emphasis on the management of waterlogged soils and soil health.
Since leaving the department, he began his own environmental consultancy to provide research and extension support, technical skills and advice to farming groups, government and like-minded community organisations in soil and land management.
Based in Geelong, he has developed wide-ranging networks within Agricultural and Natural Resource Management based groups in the south-west Victoria and has a good rapport with landholders. Tim is passionate about promoting more sustainable Australian agricultural systems through improved soil and land management practices.
For recreation Tim enjoys cruising the coast of the Bellarine Peninsula on his road bike, meandering down some muddy tracks on his mountain bike or walking along the Barwon River with his dog and kids in tow.
Roger MacRaild is the most experienced extension officer at the VSTWP and has been running his environmental consultancy for over 5 years. He has a diverse range of skills and experience, including contracts with the Moorabool Landcare Network Facilitator, Victorian Serrated Tussock Extension Officer, Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Assessor and the Rowsley Landcare Group seasonal project officer.
Prior to consulting, Roger was with the Department of Primary Industries (now Ag Vic within DEDJTR) for over 5 years as an Incursions Controller for High Risk Invasive Plants, and Biosecurity Leader for Serrated Tussock. Roger also has experience as a Bushland Team-leader in the City of Whittlesea, Bush Firefighter with DSE, with various spray/revegetation companies, and as a research assistant at Deakin University.
Roger’s passion is integrated control of invasive plants and has in depth local knowledge of pasture improvement and soil health. He has coordinated aerial spraying of serrated tussock in the Rowsley Valley and has assisted the area in reducing the impact of serrated tussock in the landscape.
Current he is working in the Ballan region, providing extension to landowners impacted by serrated tussock and ensuring all landowners treat the invasive plant across the landscape to slow its spread. In his spare time Roger can be seen on his beloved mountain bike in parks and forests across the state.
Ivan joined the VSTWP as the Executive Officer whilst working for the Department of Primary Industries in Kyneton in 2011-2012. Since leaving the State Government, Ivan has begun a private consulting business and has been contracting as an Extension Officer for the past four years with the VSTWP. During this time, he has conducted extension projects in Clarkfield, Riddells Creek, Sunbury, Gisborne and Bullengarook and provided one to one extension to over 1000 land owners for serrated tussock infestations.
Having studied his undergraduate Applied Science degree at Federation University, he completed a post graduate masters degree at RMIT in Environmental Planning and Sustainability. He worked for the Department of Primary Industries for seven years before leaving to start consulting in Environmental Projects across the State, including Community Engagement Officer at the VSTWP and Wildlife Surveyor with Wombat forestcare.
Ivan has represented the VSTWP at many events, conferences and field days across the state and has an in depth understanding of the biological and treatment options available for serrated tussock. He has produced TV Commercial, Radio Advertisements and conducted evaluation on behalf of the VSTWP and currently manages the VSTWP website and communication activities.
His other interests include gardening, soccer obsessions and getting out into the wilderness as often as possible.