Adelaide-born Native Vegetation Branch State Manager Russell Seaman began his tertiary studies in business, before discovering his true vocation lay in working in the environment sector.
With a new career direction, Russell withdrew from his business degree and completed studies in urban and regional planning and a Bachelor of Applied Science, Conservation Management from the University of South Australia.
After graduation, Russell started a native vegetation and restoration consultancy focusing on riparian and wetland projects.
In 1997 Russell entered the public service and for the next few years worked on water-related policy and programs, providing him with the opportunity for extensive wetland field work.
The following decade, Russell developed and participated in projects based in the South East and Murray-Darling Basin regions, with a strong focus on the Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert.
During his career in the public service Russell has represented the South Australian Government on several international and national committees including the Australian delegation to the Korean Ramsar Conference of Contracting Parties.
Russell has been a member of the National Wetlands and Waterbirds Task Group and the South Australian Water Security Technical Working Group.
He has also been awarded several state and national planning awards and the Banksia Foundation’s Prime Ministers award for environmental achievements.
Find out more about Russell as he tells his story in his own words.
What is the length of time in your current role?
This year is my fourth year as the manager of the Native Vegetation Branch.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
The ability to develop directions with colleagues and community that can positively influence the way we interact with our landscapes is central to my work enjoyment.
Understanding perspectives from the community and then being able to overlay what the landscape needs to function sustainably is always a dynamic space.
What do you most value about working at DEW?
We are often placed in the position of connecting people, landscapes and economy to get our work done. Although at times this creates a natural tension, it also creates a dynamic environment with the potential to deliver great results.
What is unique about working at DEW compared to working elsewhere?
At the core of our work is trying to balance multiple uses of our landscape. This requires us to be across a huge breath of issues, not many careers offer this scope.
What are some pivotal moments in your career that you learned from or that got you where you are?
The Millennium Drought was absolutely the pivotal moment; I was involved in the development and implementation of responses to this crisis. The dependence on ecological systems that support us was a national wakeup call
Who is your leadership role model, and why?
There are so many great leadership figures throughout history, so I do not have one or two people that I can single out.
I have found the huge variety of podcasts available unlocks amazing stories of incredible people having meaningful impact across the world, discovering leadership role models is a weekly adventure.
I just listened to Rob Shaul, who discussed what it means to be a ‘quiet professional’. He discusses that people need to find the ‘craft’ in their work.
How do you relax and unwind after a stressful day?
I’ve just started learning the bass guitar and found that practicing totally clears the head and puts a good vibe back in the body.
What do you do in your time off?
I’m usually in the Adelaide Hills or south coast hiking and mountain bike riding. If I have a few more days free, the family heads off to our favourite camping and walking spots in the Flinders Ranges or canoeing along the Glenelg River.