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Harry Butler Institute to promote conservation and environmental management

20:00 EDT 17 Aug 2017 | Australian Life Scientist

Murdoch University joined global energy producer Chevron last week for the official launch of the Harry Butler Institute, set to shape the next generation of leaders in conservation and environmental management.

Named in honour of one of Western Australia’s environmental pioneers, the institute will offer new academic pathways for students and support research programs promoting sustainability and environmental protection. It will be located at Murdoch University, while founding partner Chevron will sponsor the establishment of the Chevron Harry Butler Chair in Environmental Management and Biosecurity.

Murdoch University Chancellor David Flanagan paid tribute to Harry Butler’s pioneering work with Chevron Australia at Barrow Island, where he was instrumental in preserving the island’s unique environment and setting a global benchmark for environmental management. Flanagan said Butler put WA “on the world stage in the field of environmental management”, while at the same time educating generations of Australians about the importance of caring for the environment.

“By partnering with Chevron Australia, we not only honour Harry’s legacy but ensure his efforts to promote sustainability and environmental protection continue around the globe,” Flanagan said.

Chevron Executive Vice President Jay Johnson said his company has long worked with the university on a variety of projects aimed at conserving Barrow Island’s conservation values. He said the institute will “build on the great work that Harry did with Chevron by providing new generations of students with the opportunity to undertake high-quality research in biosecurity science and environmental science”.

“The Chevron Harry Butler Chair in Environmental Management and Biosecurity will lead and coordinate education, research and technical advice, enhancing Chevron Australia’s research activities and the quality of environmental management in our operations,” Johnson added.

Flanagan said Harry Butler’s decades of work on Barrow Island, home to the company’s oil production facilities and the Chevron-operated Gorgon LNG Project and a Class A nature reserve, created a significant and lasting legacy which is an inspiration for the next generation of environmental scientists.

“Students attending this new institute will have the opportunity to work directly with industry and continue to demonstrate how it is possible to achieve outstanding environmental outcomes based on excellence in both scientific research and industry practice,” he said.

Students will have the opportunity to study the new field of bioeconomics at the institute, which will be supported by appointed fellows and adjunct professors, a PhD program and honours projects and scholarships, including an Indigenous program. Plans also include an environmental education centre, volunteer programs and an annual lecture series.

The institute will also offer graduates a pathway towards employment with Chevron, with students to be involved in the ongoing monitoring and scientific work taking place on Barrow Island.

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