Rose Putri Webber works in biosecurity as part of sustaining the environment with the Department of Agriculture and fisheries. She discuss her work in with us, what she’s passionate about, the challenges, and how her IB learner’s profile is keeping her going.
- What is your role with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Queensland, Australia, and more specifically with the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program.
Within the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program, I work with the Aerial Treatment Team as a Client Liaison Officer (CLO), acting as ground support for the helicopter pilot, while they aerially distribute fire ant bait around clients’ properties.
I need to monitor the clients’ livestock (such as cattle, horses, alpacas, and others) and make sure they are safe during the helicopter’s flight, as it can spook most of these animals, causing them to run through fences or onto main roads, endangering themselves. My job also includes identifying crops, and the growth stage they are at, and notifying the pilots where they can and cannot treat the property.
- How does biosecurity help sustain the environment?
Without biosecurity policies in place, there would be non-native animals, pests, diseases, weeds and more, that could potentially take over an entire country and wipe out the natural flora and fauna as well as their habitats.
How it works is by ensuring the risks posed to the natural environment by non-native animals, pests, diseases and weeds are identified, prioritized and controlled. Also by preventing them from entering the country, establishing their residence and spreading like wildfire.
- What are the main challenges you face from land and property owners when discussing this eradication program?
The eradication program is a government-mandated program. Meaning we can treat any person’s property right up to their doorstep unannounced when faced with uncooperative clients.
To smoothen the process, we contact property and land owners prior to aerial treatment. A lot of clients are uncomfortable with the idea of a helicopter flying so close to their homes, at tree height level and dropping pellet pesticides on their property. However, we do leave an exclusion zone of 50m to 100m (at the pilot’s discretion) around any dwellings and anywhere they collect water due to most clients living rurally, and relying on their dams and water tanks as their main water source.
- You use detection dogs. How does that work?
I don’t get to see the detection dogs often because they are kept at a different depot, but as far as I know these detection dogs are just like any other service dog and they are all independently assessed and validated.
- What values learned from BIS do you think are applicable to your role today?
The IB learner profiles have stayed with me since the day I graduated from BIS. The main learner profiles in my field of work include Open-Minded, Thinker, Communicator, Caring, and Risk Taker.
When facing opportunities to explain the importance of treating their property for fire ants to those who do not understand it, I used these learner profiles. It keeps me open-minded, but also reminds me to show compassion in my communications with them. Under certain circumstances, I need to think of different paths to take when talking to the client to reduce and manage any risks or danger to the ground teams, pilots, and myself.