SV: Woah, both of you have such interesting backgrounds of how you got into the stormwater field! Moving onto current day stuff, is there anything part of your work that “sounds boring” to others but you actually enjoy a lot?

Claire: I often take photos of WSUD that I see when I’m out and about – I don’t think my friends and family find that quite as interesting as I do! I was in Shepparton recently and noticed the raingardens along Vaughan Street. The raingardens included big Pycnosorus globosus (Billy Buttons) sculptures, which provide visual interest, draw a link to the area’s riverina floodplain flora and also work to stop pedestrians walking through the raingardens. I thought they were fantastic! For some reason, nobody else was taking photos of the raingardens that day.
Emily: I get to do most of the sexy stuff, write Council reports, grant applications, talk to people across the state about integrated water management. I have a lot of admiration for those who do the data crunching, my brain was not built for that!

SV: That’s great! I love checking out raingardens on the sly while people around me walk past unaware! What has been your favourite projects and why?

Claire: I really enjoyed delivering the Cleaner Creeks: Everyone’s Business project at Hume City Council. We delivered face-to-face stormwater management education sessions to hundreds of industrial businesses, carried out water quality testing and worked with a range of Council departments to achieve broader public amenity outcomes. This gave us a much deeper understanding of the issues facing industrial businesses, and the barriers that businesses face when managing off-site pollution impacts, including stormwater pollution. It also gave businesses the opportunity to talk directly with a Council officer, which people often appreciated.
Emily: I’ve always enjoyed talking to people and inspiring them. Talking to other Councils considering undertaking a project like Kingston’s in lieu stormwater quality contributions is really rewarding, and not something I’ll ever get tired of doing.

SV: And final question, what’s your favourite stormwater/recreational spot to take your family?

Claire: I’m grateful for all of our protected open space, stormwater or otherwise! Our last holiday before Covid-19 lockdown was a group trip to the Grampians. I taught my friends’ kids how to spot native Drosera (carnivorous plants) and they were very excited to find “fly-traps” in the national and state parks we visited. It was a great opportunity to connect to nature and relax.
Emily: Mordialloc Creek is our nearest waterway (other than the Bay). I get to see first-hand the impact of being at the bottom of a large catchment and that inspires me to work hard at ensuring those further up the catchment are working just as hard as Kingston to protect these amazing assets.