The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) and the family of two Australian victims of flight MH17, shot down over Ukraine on 17 July, are raising money to establish a scholarship at The University of Western Australia Albany in honour of Mr Arjen Ryder.
Arjen's brother Drew Ryder, in partnership with DAFWA, sought UWA's help in setting up the Scholarship in Memory of Arjen Ryder to support a student living in the Albany region who is studying at the Albany-based UWA Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management.
The scholarship will reflect Arjen's resource sciences expertise, especially in the fields of land evaluation, soil science and natural resource management, particularly dryland salinity.
Arjen and his wife Yvonne lived in Albany for 25 years. Yvonne was a special-needs teacher at the John Calvin School in Albany for many years. Both were strong Christians and members of the Free Reformed Church.
Arjen graduated from Muresk and had a stellar 30-year career serving the agricultural and rural communities in WA. He was a member of the WA Department of Agriculture and Food's Catchment Hydrology Group and, along with his important work in salt land management; he was instrumental in development of new mitigation strategies using perennial pasture, particularly lucerne, and in liming of soils to improve fertility. He co-authored several books and research papers on salinity.
"Arjen had a passion for the land and a clear vision for sustainability," said his brother Drew. "He worked tirelessly with individual farmers to help make their land more productive over time, but he also saw the entire Great Southern as ‘one great big farm' which could be remediated through long-term collaborative efforts.
"It was Arjen's leadership in this area that we want to memorialise. His important work must continue and we are hoping this new scholarship will inspire others to follow in his footsteps."
Three teams from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and at least one team from the Ryder family will compete in the 2014 Blackwood Marathon in Bridgetown on 25 October to raise funds for the scholarship. Arjen was a keen cyclist and had competed in this event for many years. He was also a member of the Albany Cycling Club.
The goal is to endow a scholarship to ensure the continued investment into the future generations of agricultural scientists. To donate online select ‘Student Support' then the ‘Scholarship in Memory of Arjen Ryder'.