Environment and resource consultant Hayley Greenham has the world at her feet – literally

THE Australian agricultural industry enjoys a reputation as one of the most productive, efficient and sustainable in the world.

And, thanks to young professionals such as Hayley Greenham, it’s an industry bound to evolve and prosper well into the future.

Moree is renowned as one of the nation’s leading production powerhouses and Hayley’s decision to return to her hometown to pursue a career in environmental science was an easy one.

“There is such a wealth of opportunity for young professionals in the environmental and resource sectors, particularly in rural regions, and ensuring a sustainable future for agriculture is something I’m really interested in,” Hayley said.

Hayley, a 2008 graduate of Moree Secondary College, credits her local education for giving her the confidence to explore a number of career avenues, and fleshing out what was really important to her.

“During my years at MSC one teacher in particular, Miss Bugden, was extremely inspirational,” Hayley said.

“She was both my Advanced English teacher and Drama teacher and made such an effort with the students – you could tell she wanted us to succeed.

“Throughout Year 12 she made herself available most weekends to help us prepare for our group project, which involved a short performance, and her commitment inspired us all to try that little bit harder.”

Even as an adult, it seems this subconscious habit to ‘try a little bit harder’, has stuck.

A gap year in Moree after school allowed Hayley the opportunity to work at a local real-estate agency as a property manager.

Former Moree Secondary College student Hayley Greenham is a professional environment and resource consultant for SMK Consultants in Moree.

“I really enjoyed the advertising and marketing elements involved with real-estate and this encouraged me to pursue a business degree at Griffith University in Brisbane,” she said.

Once at university, Hayley’s world opened even wider thanks to the myriad opportunities on offer.

“I took a number of different classes focusing on sustainable enterprises and became more interested in businesses that aim to achieve a triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit,” Hayley said.

“This led me to undertake a complementary degree in environmental science.”

Following her instincts and her genuine interests, it seems this fateful path she found herself on was, evidently, the right one.

Research undertaken while at Griffith University culminated in her receiving two awards from Soil Science Australia in 2015 – Best Undergraduate Student and Best Communication.

After completing a Bachelor of Science (Environment) and a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Sustainable Enterprise) Hayley returned to Moree, buoyed by the opportunities her new skills could bring to her hometown.

Working for SMK Consultants as a professional environment and resource consultant, she now provides advice to developers and farmers across the region.

“It’s an exciting time to be in the industry; there have been so many developments in the agricultural sector surrounding water-use efficiency, irrigation, soil health and productivity and digital agriculture,” she said.

“Where else to better capitalise on this than as a young professional here in Moree.

“Working on infrastructure projects, particularly the Inland Rail, is also a real buzz – it’s one of the most significant nation-building projects of our time and as a young professional you really couldn’t ask for a better learning opportunity.”

Other aspects of her role include flora and fauna assessments, noise and dust assessments and archaeological studies, and Hayley believes the best part of her job is that “no project or site is ever the same”.

“I’m so grateful that having been to school here, I have a great network of friends and professional contacts – Moree is one of the epicentres when it comes to soil health and sustainable agriculture,” she said.

Happy in her current role, Hayley’s leisure time is spent travelling Australia and the world.

However, her thirst for knowledge may not yet be quenched.

“Eventually I would like to pursue a Masters in Environmental Science (Land and Water) and develop a specialisation in soil science, a topic I find fascinating,” she said.

“An often overlooked component of soil fertility involves microbial activity and the diversity of bacterial species.

“One cup of soil may hold seven billion bacteria – the equivalent of our world’s human population,” she said.

“This is the part about soil science that I find fascinating; the potential for micro-organisms to enhance nutrient uptake by plants, improving drought resistance and controlling the spread of disease.

“Maintaining and improving soil fertility is of particular importance in the face of global climate change and a growing demand for food production due to an ever-expanding population.”

And it’s thanks to this passion and drive from young professionals such as Hayley Greenham, that rural Australia can rest assure its agricultural future is in safe hands.

Words and Image: Georgina Poole

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WHEN it comes to shaping the future of Moree youth, there is no greater tool than education.

And, as a platform to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the local community, Moree Secondary College is by far the town’s greatest asset.

In recent months Moree Secondary College P&C has been working on a communications strategy celebrating the local high school, aimed at promoting and showcasing MSC and the success of its alumni.

But with the community losing a large number of students to boarding schools or families relocating for education, P&C president Kelly James said the campaign was two-fold.

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