This week is NAIDOC week, where we celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year’s theme is Heal Country, which means embracing First Nation’s cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage, and that the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are respected equally to the cultures and values of all Australians.
We want to draw attention to the work we have been involved in with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, ARI, Coastcare, Heritage Insights, and Goldfields Weed Management, working to heal Wadawurrung Country, protect a landscape of cultural heritage, and address threats to Wadawurrung Values.
This project is working to heal Country by helping to recover Victorian Volcanic Grasslands, which used to cover much of Wadawurrung Country. They are currently classified as a threatened ecological community. Aligned with Paleert Tjaara Dja- Let’s make Country good together 2020-2030 – Wadawurrung Country Plan, this project is helping to achieve the goal of 5% recovery by 2030. The goals of this project are to reduce the cover of high threat weeds and control invasive pests to maintain the integrity of sites of cultural significance, while also promoting the recovery of native grasslands.
Over the past two years, the project team has undertaken activities that have identified threats to Country and the cultural landscape. Wadawurrung have prioiritsed the identified threats and lead the decision making on the on-ground management actions. We have worked to build capacity within Wadwurrung’s NRM team to undertake rapid vegetation surveys through training workshops to ensure that the on-ground actions are helping to recover native species.
This project has engaged both Traditional and Western approaches to achieve outcomes greater than expected, and has created strong partnerships between all project partners involved.
We encourage you to watch the ‘Two ways of knowing natural temperate grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plain’ seminar by Chase Aghan, Project Officer (Forest, Fire and Parks) for Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, and Dr Brad Farmilo, Senior Scientist & Plant ecologist, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (DELWP), who presented at the State-Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) seminars series on native grasslands.
We also would like to acknowledge the Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation and the Gunaikurnai people, whose land in which we are also working on as part of our restoration efforts for the Victorian Coastal Wetland Restoration Program.