Newly elected President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH), Alan Burnell, has pledged to use his new platform to encourage fundamental changes to the way horticulturists contribute to addressing societal and environmental issues.
“Modern horticultural best practices are absolutely fundamental to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are guiding the formation of policy and practice in balancing the needs of our society with the issues and limits of our planet”, says Alan.
A qualified horticulturist for over 45 years, Alan began his career as an apprentice in 1970 at Pikes Nursery in Sydney and attended Ryde School of Horticulture, before gaining a Diploma of Horticulture at Massey University in New Zealand. Since then, Alan has managed various nurseries and a palm plantation, and spent four years with an international horticulture investment company based in Sydney.
“I have spent more than half a century in the horticultural workforce, during which time I have been fortunate to participate in some amazing green projects around the world,” says Alan.
“My single biggest honour was to be engaged by Brisbane City Council to help develop the Queensland Indigenous Gardens above the Legacy Way tunnel, as part of the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens redevelopment.”
To realise this ambitious project, Alan sourced over 120,000 plants, covering 1,100 native species, for this 4ha site.
Not surprisingly given this experience, Alan is particularly passionate about urban greening and practical reconciliation. Alan says that as AIH President, he will work with his National Council to develop a more inclusive approach to engaging indigenous and regional communities across the country, and to recognise their efforts in creating innovative and community-oriented green spaces.
The importance of urban green spaces was brought home to Alan during the COVID-19 lockdowns, a time he says gave the AIH National Council an opportunity to reassess its vision and goals.
“Our vision for AIH and the greenlife industry is one of a collective voice, united in the face of climate change. Together, we can, and must, act urgently to ensure that we increase urban cooling, develop food-secure landscapes, and build a greener, more liveable world. “As the new President of AIH, I will advocate to ensure that AIH’s professional, qualified horticulturists play a key role in delivering these outcomes. Together with my fellow National Council members, I will work with government, industry, and community organisations to ensure that collectively, we can be a very powerful force for change,” Alan concludes.
The Australian Institute of Horticulture leads the profession of horticulture nationally, in promoting excellent and environmental responsibility in horticulture practice through quality professional development, service, and advocacy.
National President, Australian Institute of Horticulture,
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