New Project Manager for Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy

Sandy Leighton

The Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority has recently appointed Sandy Leighton as the new Project Manager Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy, replacing Jonah Gouldthorpe.

Sandy has a passion for engaging anyone and everyone in weed management, from raising awareness and skills, to identifying gaps and exploring possibilities for partnerships, knowledge and infrastructure sharing all with the ultimate aim of achieving on-ground results.

Starting out in life as an entomologist Sandy crossed over to weeds about 13 years ago whilst working as a consultant on the Meander Valley ragwort biocontrol program.

“Weed Watch” program
During this time Sandy also produced a series of weed bookmarks for the group and had input into municipal weed management plans for priority weeds. She was later contracted by the Tamar Valley Weed Working Group to redistribute gorse, ragwort and boneseed biocontrol agents and in partnership with TIAR delivered the three year “Weed Watch” schools program to 14 schools and nearly 1000 students and teachers throughout Tasmania.

Concurrently Sandy was contracted by the Launceston Environment Centre to investigate the status of two threatened species found in the Tamar Valley.

Following on from this Sandy moved south to Hobart and became a public servant. She worked as the WeedPlan Education Officer (DPIW) where she oversaw Weedbuster Week 2002, did a short stint with web publishing (DPIW) and then worked for NRM South for 12 months as an NRM facilitator engaging the southern community in the development of the NRM Strategy for Southern Tasmania.

WoNS
During this time she wrote the weeds, pests and diseases discussion paper for NRM South. Moving on from this she worked as the National WoNS Coordinator for Gorse (hosted by DPIW) and has recently returned from 12 months in the Northern Territory where she was working as the National WoNS Coordinator for Mimosa pigra and Athel Pine.

After spending the last three and a half years with the Weeds of National Significance program engaging over 400 stakeholders throughout Australia, forming and acting as executive officer for three national management committees, gaining funding for three national best practice manuals, value adding to three national programs and reporting on progress to the Australian Government, she had a yearning to return to Tasmania and become involved in local weed programs.

Local hit list
She is currently a voluntary member of two community groups and has boneseed and garden escapes on her local hit list.

Sandy is hoping that her various skills can improve ownership and delivery of the Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy and looks forward to working with all stakeholders within the southern region.