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Tein McDonald – Member of the Order of Australia – AABR

For vital service to conservation and the surroundings.

“… she is a shining example of selfless giving to the community and the environment. She is certainly a rare individual of disarming modesty matched by quiet determination.”- Professor Kingsley Dixon (John Curtin Distinguished Professor)

Dr Tein McDonald is a scholar, respected group educator, extremely esteemed bush regenerator and passionate change agent who has been answerable for driving profound ecological restoration reform in Australia and internationally. Since 1987 when she established Australia’s first Bushcare program in Ku-ring-gai Council, Tein has worked to result in each physical and structural change to ecological restoration and administration, and in the process has grow to be a number one authority in the subject. Alongside this focus over the many years Tein has turn out to be an intimate good friend to the Bandjalang individuals of the Bundjalung Nation, aiding in preservation of their language, cultural integrity and restoration and management of their native bushland.

Natural environments throughout the world at the moment are extremely fragmented and much of what stays is degraded to varied levels. Tein’s enduring motion to protect the natural surroundings and promote and implement the highest ecological management requirements is outstanding, and of both nationwide and worldwide significance. Her eager understanding of both social and environmental issues at all levels signifies that her work for the well being of these communities (social and environmental) is consistently intertwined. Tein’s work has been to:

  • Develop worldwide and national requirements of apply to connect and restore pure areas
  • Affect professional communities of follow, by way of encouraging scholars and practitioners to guard, look after and construct information of natural environments
  • Facilitate Indigenous land administration via language, culture and bush regeneration initiatives with Bandjalang individuals from the Bundjalung Nation
  • Collaborate with native communities to arrest the decline of particular environments in her geographic space by means of ceaseless advocacy, group engagement and guide labor.

In her sometimes understated approach Tein summarises her ongoing commitments as combining

“… a range of restoration-oriented activities including on-ground works supervision, training and mentoring an Indigenous land management group and journal editing – with roles on committees and boards of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators and the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia.”

Much of Tein’s work as detailed under has been undertaken in a voluntary capacity or on minimal pay – she lives as she talks, with integrity, reliability and commitment.


An necessary end result of Tein’s work led to the Society for Ecological Restoration’s launch of the first International Standards for the Apply of Ecological Restoration, in December 2016 at the Convention of the Parties of the Worldwide Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Cancun, Mexico. These are vital assets for long-term protection of the surroundings which have standardised the worldwide language of restoration and measurable outcomes to be achieved in relationship to a reference ecosystem.

In the lead-up to the improvement of these international standards, Tein initiated and headed a consortium of specialists from all peak organisations in Australia concerned in ecological restoration. The purpose was to develop the first set of Nationwide Standards for the Follow of Ecological Restoration in Australia. The doc has been adopted by the Federal Authorities (Department of Power and Surroundings) as offering the guiding rules in environmental repair and offsets in Australia.

TM SERA awardA Particular Recognition Award was given by the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) by means of the 2016 SERA awards for excellence to “Dr Tein McDonald for outstanding leadership in the profession of ecological restoration, in conceiving and leading the creation of the Australian Standards in Ecological Restoration and the first International Standards in Ecological Restoration.”


In her professional sphere, Tein’s understated strategy is famous by those she encounters. She strives to deliver collectively practitioners, students and representatives from peak our bodies to collaborate in building and disseminating information, and to ensure the safety and custodianship of pure environments. She sometimes goals to recognise the work of others – whether pioneers in bush regeneration, members of professional societies, or practitioners who seek a discussion board to share insights, hard-won from experience.

As President of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) since 2012, Tein has demonstrated spectacular leadership, in addition to injecting boundless enthusiasm and keenness into the organisation, being the driving pressure for:

  • 3 symposia every attended by at the very least 200 practitioners and landholder agency employees:
  • Regular submission of “President’s Perspective” for AABR quarterly publication
  • Regular submission of scholarly information articles for the website.

In August 2017, Tein conceived a perpetual award for innovation in ecological restoration, The Albert Morris Award, to commemorate and revitalise the work of Albert Morris and to formally recognise one of the first bush regeneration tasks in the world.

In addition, as President of AABR, Tein has been instrumental in driving AABR’s schooling agenda, successfully applying for an Environmental Belief Schooling Grant to supply video case research demonstrating the many approaches to ecological restoration throughout Australia and past. regenTV videos are accompanied by instructional assets for academics and students.

Throughout the decade from 1997–2007, Tein was employed as a instructor at TAFE (initially Ryde, Sydney and then Wollongbar, North Coast NSW) to teach subjects aligned with bush regeneration, ecological restoration and bushland administration.

As a Board member of the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia, Tein now travels extensively and regularly to current at international conferences on the importance and means of attaining excessive biodiversity outcomes in ecological restoration – a apply that is growing along with a rising awareness of improved biodiversity outcomes.

Ever the advocate for placing principle into follow, Tein envisioned a practitioner-based journal to offer an avenue for sharing info between analysis scientists and practitioners. In 2000, funding by means of a Land & Water Australia grant plus help from the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), allowed the ESA management oriented journal  Ecological Management and Restoration (EMR) to turn out to be a reality. Tein is the founding and persevering with Editor of this skilled journal that has succeeded in bridging the gap between the perspectives of educational ecologists and on-ground natural resource managers.

Tein is herself a printed writer in addition to having input to a variety of articles and reviews by which it’s troublesome to seek out evidence of her typically vital but self-effacing contribution. At VII World Conference on Ecological Restoration, Iguassu Brazil 2017, Tein’s oral presentation for the session – From Principle To Motion: Implementing New International Standards For The Follow Of Ecological Restoration – is a core example of her conviction to inform and influence knowledgeable group of follow.


TM MinyumaiTein is engaged in a quantity of different vital environmental actions together with her work with the Minyumai Landholding Aboriginal Company on the Far North Coast of NSW. During its initial establishment, Tein was instrumental in creating the Plan of Administration, and her ongoing championing for the administration of 2,100 hectares has resulted in Minyumai’s designation in 2011 as an Indigenous Protected Area. Tein has constantly engaged with the Conventional House owners of Bundjalung lands and the Bandjalang group, to facilitate training and promote the group’s self administration. She has efficiently utilized for quite a few working grants, and notably supporting the implementation of a Firesticks venture – a fireplace administration plan to enhance and maintain the well being of bushland at Minyumai.

Since 1985 Tein has hung out with Bandjalang families in Coraki to play phrase video games with youngsters, help capture vocabulary and grammar, and to concentrate on tradition and history. Via a grant that concluded in 2004, Tein carried out and recorded a collection of interviews with Bandjalang Elders and transcribed these recordings for the households and group. During these years of communication and collaboration with one Elder, Lawrence Wilson, Tein considerably contributed to a dwelling archive of “Bundjalung language elicitation, cultural discussions, oral history accounts and genealogical information”. In addition to being stored in trust by the households, these recordings and transcripts at the moment are additionally situated in the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research (AIATSIS) database, Canberra. Tein continues this work in the present day, serving to Bandjalang individuals to retain links with custom, tradition and relationship to land.

In nearby Evans Head, in the mid-1980s Tein was pivotal to group action to protect Dirawong (a religious creature also referred to as the goanna spirit). Some from Bundjalung Nation consider that the Rainbow snake and Dirawong together created elements of the Richmond River and Goanna Headland at Evans Head. Tein stimulated local Indigenous Coraki and Cabbage Tree Island ladies to undertake bush regeneration activities at Goanna Headland, and in 1985 a 16 hectare section (southern half of Goanna Headland) turned the first Aboriginal land grant in NSW. A serious part of Goanna Headland is now a reserve, managed for the wider group by the Dirawong Belief.


From 2008, Tein has inspired, supported and facilitated neighbouring landholders of their concern for shielding remnant bushland. Specifically, she completed species surveys, identified three endangered ecological communities and now continues to help in regenerating a minimum of two personal properties located in threatened coastal floodplains. Gently nudging at weed time, with sensitivity to individuals’ circumstances is her present

TM KorinderieFollowing this expertise, Tein introduced the concept again to her house group and consequently, at Korinderie Ridge, the Group Advancement Cooperative of which Tein is a member, there’s now an annual week of bush regeneration for volunteers. This system has been operating for 15 years and has now efficiently eradicated lantana from the majority of the 196 hectares.

Additionally in 2001, the Northern Rivers department of NSW Nationwide Parks & Wildlife Service recognised broad scale invasion of bitou bush in the local area. Tein was sought to advise and develop a restoration plan for Bundjalung National Park. Because it occurred, a extreme wildfire late in 2001 prompted an opportunistic aerial spraying of the park, effectively stopping re-incursion of bitou. Tein’s input to the general weed administration plan for Bundjalung NP could be seen in the resource held by NSW NPWS, and in addition later referenced in an article featured in the journal Ecological Management & Restoration.

Earlier in life, while employed in bushland management at Ku-ring-gai Council in 1987-1991, Tein formalised and expanded the first local government-run volunteer bush regeneration program in Australia, later named Bushcare. The initiative continues to be in place at present; represents an environmental flagship for the Council by way of Ku-ring-gai Bushcare Association (KBA); and has been extensively adopted by Local Authorities. The program allows residents to realize a better understanding of their local bushland and in cooperation with bush regeneration contractors, volunteers work to revive and shield Ku-ring-gai’s bushland.

Tein was also an encouraging mentor for long-term tasks corresponding to the Habitat Restoration in Ku-ring-gai Flying-fox Reserve. In 1996, following this early work in the area, Tein accomplished her PhD titled “Ecosystem Resilience and Restoration of Damaged Plant Communities: a discussion focusing on Australian case studies” – a first in the self-discipline area of bush regeneration.

TM Broken Hill