Beating pest is academic

Rachel Davison, from Murdoch University, is working with  Isabel Arevalo-Vigne on a fruit fly control project . Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d435641
Rachel Davison, from Murdoch University, is working with Isabel Arevalo-Vigne on a fruit fly control project . Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d435641

Ms Arevalo-Vigne is finding ways to promote community action through her PhD at UWA, which will eventually help develop the Federal Government�s National Fruit Fly Strategy.

She has been joined by Murdoch University�s Rachel Davison, a Bachelor of Sustainability undergraduate who has spent her career in groundskeeping, landscaping and nurseries.

Ms Davison said this year was the first in which her lemon trees at home had ever harboured medfly.

Soon after she discovered this, one of Ms Arevalo-Vigne�s community education flyers made its way into Dawson�s Nursery, where Ms Davison works.

�The current information available on fruit fly is so dry,� she said.

�This was so user-friendly I thought it was exactly what we need for the nursery, where we sell huge numbers of fruit trees.�

With her degree requiring a community project component, Ms Davison got in touch with Ms Arevalo-Vigne and offered assistance.

She created educational presentations to complement Ms Arevalo-Vigne�s arsenal of promotional tools and has effectively doubled the project�s community presence.

�This issue is a critical one from a sustainability perspective,� Ms Davison said.

�If we don�t help these growers, we�re not going to have a local fruit production industry and we�ll end up importing fruit or buying it from the rest of Australia, and it then becomes an issue of food miles.

�Apart from that, there is a huge home food production culture here.

�How disappointed will people be if they can�t harvest anything they grow?

�If you want fruit trees on your property you have to take responsibility.

�What happens on private property now has huge implications for the rest of the community.

�The Hills is a critical area with its urban/orchard interface and we need these people working together.�