Ben Galea has heeded the call to “go west young man”, to take up a dream job in Longreach.
He was born in Bundaberg and grew up at Waterloo.
“There was always so much going on when I was a kid and I have a lot of fond memories of growing up around Bundaberg,” Ben said.
He was educated at St Josephs Primary School and Shalom Catholic College, then moved to Canberra to study a Bachelor of Science (Natural Resource Management) at ANU.
“Since returning to Bundaberg I’ve been working for the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) as their Communication and Engagement Officer.
“My job has been to promote the valuable work and the passion of my colleagues at BMRG, as well as BMRG’s partners, community groups and landholders.
“It’s been a wonderful way to get back involved with my community, learn about the region and develop lasting skills and relationships that for me are really important.
“I particularly enjoyed getting out to speak with school students, and filming the people who are the boots on the ground, making practical and lasting improvements to our environment.”
Next stop Desert Channels Qld
But, always ready for a new adventure, Ben is moving to Longreach in Western Queensland to work on projects being undertaken by BMRG’s partner organisation, Desert Channels Qld.
“An opportunity like this is just gold for someone who’s studied environmental science.
“I’ll be working on projects to restore the ecology and agricultural potential of Western Queensland grazing properties, primarily through weed control along some of our beautiful inland rivers and waterways.
“The team out there have pioneered highly effective methods to spray broad areas of invasive weeds with the help of drones and specially equipped ATVs.
“It’s on such a big scale too!”
“Fortunately, much of the on-ground work in Western Qld is still going full steam ahead.
“Natural Resource Management Groups like BMRG and Desert Channels are highly adaptive organisations and have responded well to the coronavirus situation.
“Their proactive approach to conservation might actually provide opportunities for the local community when we start coming out of this.”
Ben lived in Western Queensland during his gap year, working with dinosaur fossils and on properties, so is very familiar with the region and its communities.
“I’m itching to get back out into that country and to get involved with the people of the inland and the thriving communities they foster.”
Bundaberg will always be home
Bundaberg will always be home for Ben, though.
“Much of my underlying confidence I feel each day comes from this particular landscape.
“If you're observant, it easily entertains, calms and cares for you like family.
“The bush and the beach, for me it’s the perfect combo – getting to enjoy that and the people at Bargara Park Run on a Saturday morning is something I really cherished.
“It’s not going to be easy being away from my girlfriend and family.”
While Ben’s family and friends will be sorry to see him go, they are proud of his achievements.
“Chris and I are very excited for Ben as he heads out on another adventurous challenge to pursue his dreams of improving our natural environment,” Ben’s Mum Shirley said.
“A major project his team will be working on is to eradicate prickly acacia throughout the Diamantina and desert channels country.
“This work is essential to halt its spread into the pristine Lake Eyre region.
“We know he'll contribute with his usual enthusiasm and hard work ethic.
“We will miss him greatly and unfortunately because of COVID-19 we will not be able to visit him out at Longreach for a while.
“But like all separated from their loved ones right now, we'll make good use of technology to keep in touch.”
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