THE Centre for Invasive Species Solutions' (CISS) long-standing chairwoman Helen Cathles retired from the position late last year, leaving a lasting legacy for the organisation, ensuring farmers, researchers, government, industry and the community work together with impact.
Ms Cathles, a woolproducer from Wee Jasper, New South Wales, has been a member of the board since 2005 and became chairwoman in 2007, where she played an integral part in the re-bid of the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre in 2012 and the formation of the brand new collaborative invasive species RD&E company, CISS, in 2017.
In the role, she witnessed large scale and cross-sectoral collaborative research which saw the 2017 national release of RHDV1 K5, the first new rabbit bio-control agent in 20 years and development of the award-winning National Rabbit Bio-control Monitoring Program.
She also saw significant enhancements in new toxin development through the creation of new feral predator baits (Foxecute and Dogabait) and a new feral pig bait (HogGone) and delivery system (HogHopper), which were commercialised through Animal Control Technologies Australia (ACTA).
ACTA managing director Linton Staples said that with her sheep industry background, Ms Cathles was passionate about the need to develop innovative tools and management approaches for many serious pest threats.
"Throughout her tenure as chairwoman she encouraged participation and teamwork and this resulted in some of the most significant advances in technology in several decades.
"Helen never lost sight of the need to ensure farmer friendly tools were delivered and we were pleased to be a part of this team which has achieved breakthrough development over the past 12 years," Dr Staples said.
In a changing digital world, Ms Cathles also saw the development of significant national invasive species digital infrastructure through the FeralScan community mapping program which now has more than 25,000 users and the PestSmart best practice management knowledge hub and website which received more than half a million-page views each year.
CISS has also farewelled Board director and renown wildlife scientist Glen Saunders, who retired.