Wimmera Research Group

Research team

Staff researchers

Dr Michelle GraymoreDr Michelle Graymore

Research Fellow
Phone: 03 5362 2620
Email: m.graymore@federation.edu.au

Michelle Graymore's research is focused on understanding what makes sustainable and resilient regional and rural communities, in particular climate change adaptation. This includes measuring and reporting on regional sustainability, behaviour change strategies for rural and regional areas, tools for community engagement in decision making and attitudes, knowledge and behaviours of landholders towards various environmental management issues.

Michelle is a Research Fellow with the Wimmera Research Group.

Dr Imogen SchwarzDr Imogen Schwarz

Research Fellow
Phone: 03 5362 2681
Email: i.schwarz@federation.edu.au

Dr Imogen Schwarz holds a degree in health promotion (hon - Deakin University), and a PhD (social science) from the University of Ballarat.

Imogen's research investigates the socio-economic impacts of (water infrastructure) change on rural dryland communities including farmers and small business people.

Higher degree researchers

La Vergne LehmannLa Vergne Lehmann 

PhD student
BTech(Hons), GradDip(Journalism)

Email: l.lehmann@federation.edu.au

After completing an honours degree in ecotourism at Flinders University, Adelaide in 1999, La Vergne Lehmann moved to the Wimmera to take up a position as tourism officer with the Hindmarsh Shire Council. More recently she has taken on the role of course coordinator for Conservation and Land Management and VET in Schools at Longerenong College, near Horsham.

La Vergne and her family also run a sustainable bush retreat accommodation near the Little Desert National Park at Dimboola. Hence her interest in sustainable tourism practices - particularly after nearly a decade in drought. In early 2007, La Vergne started her PhD with a research focus on valuing water in dryland tourism areas. Her main hobby is being a taxi, driver, cook, cleaner, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to her and her husband's seven children.

Project title: Valuing water in dryland areas for tourism
Principal supervisor: Associate Professor Ian Clark
Associate Supervisor: Dr Pam McRae-Williams

Jonathan StarksJonathan Starks

Masters student

Email: j.starks@federation.edu.au

Jonathan Starks commenced his masters in 2007, which builds upon a Birchip Cropping Group project funded by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) titled 'Bio-Diversity in a Piped Rural Water System.'

The de-commissioning of the channel/dam network in the Wimmera and Southern Mallee will result in rapid and permanent changes to the availability of water for wildlife on farms. The loss of biodiversity, and particularly frogs, that will occur as a result of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline could be irreversible.

This project aims to trial the capacity of wildlife ponds on farms to support frog populations and potentially broader biodiversity values, determine the ability of frogs to disperse from existing water sources into wildlife troughs, and re-establish frogs in areas where they are no longer present.

Project title: Frogs on farms: Maintaining healthy frog populations on farms within a piped water delivery system
Principal supervisor: Dr Simon Cook