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Although the benefits of working together with community members seem evident, there are times when engaged practitioners can become incredibly frustrated with their work; when this happens, they may find refuge and hope in each other. Darren Marshall almost gave up on engagement until a colleague from across the globe was able to reignite his passion. A course in the United States helped Darren bring a new lens to his work with communities. Instead of presenting research, technology and processes as he had in the past, he began to develop research with communities right from the start of projects. Darren no longer separates the biophysical and human dimensions of an issue – to him, they are equally important. He tries to consider all sides of an issue, and has learnt how to gently challenge an idea and how to address the concerns of forceful individuals. Without the whole community’s input, an effort cannot be sustained in the long-term. Drawing inspiration from others, Darren himself inspires, teaches, mentors and empowers community members to work together in the most effective ways possible.
Darren Marshall is the Regional Coordinator for Biodiversity and Pest Animals, Queensland Murray Darling Committee.