2021 has been a year of growth and milestones for our Aboriginal NRM team. From our Elders Advisory Group through our Noongar Boodjar Rangers, this year was a time of reflection backed by action.
Reflecting On The Past Five Years
This year saw the five-year Mooditj Boodjar Action PIan draw to a close. In 2021 the Elders Advisory Group reflected on the current plan and looked at what was important to them as we move forward to start a new plan in 2022. They recognised that while we are progressing there is still a long way to go and their aspirations of Recording of Traditional Knowledge, Use of Noongar language, Access to Significant Sites, Economic Opportunities for Local Aboriginal People and Meaningful Discussion are still relevant.
We also took the first steps in developing a Reconciliation Action Plan, working with the Elders Group. We look forward in finalising that plan next year.
Native Seed Collection Gained Momentum
Following on from 2020 when we received a $75,000 Regional Economic Development grant, our seed collection enterprise went from strength to strength. This culminated in the recent delivery of seed cleaning machinery which means that we now have the capabilities for a full native seed offering.
As part of this enterprise, we saw the return of former school-based trainee, Judd Stead. Returning after a five-year hiatus, Judd re-joined the Noongar Boodjar Ranger team bringing expert knowledge in the art of native species identification and seed collection. He has been a welcome addition to the team and we’re looking forward to showcasing more of his work in 2022.
ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt also did a small feature on our native seed collection activities and the end result is this beautiful video. Thanks to Samille Mitchell for the production.
New kaatadjin, new skills
Training and development has been a priority for our Noongar Boodjar Rangers. Earlier in the year, Rangers were offered on-the-ground exposure to soil sampling. It was an amazing opportunity to connect farmers and Rangers with both parties sharing the same goal of nurturing Country.
The Ranger team also hit the classroom undertaking a huge body of training. They’ve looked at everything from plant propagation through to chemical use training and are now a highly skilled workforce, specialising in natural resource management.
Milestones and celebrations
Our work at Northam Cemetery hit a key milestone this year. The Rangers celebrated 100 working days on this partnership with the Shire of Northam. This has been a long-standing and much-loved piece of work and reaching this milestone was a particularly proud moment for the team.
The Noongar Boodjar Rangers were also recognised as finalists in the 2021 State Landcare Awards. The award acknowledges an outstanding Indigenous community group or individual that is working towards improving land use and/or enhancing or protecting an area on behalf of the community.
If we thought that 2021 was big, then we’re preparing ourselves for an even busier 2022. We are currently on the lookout for an Aboriginal NRM Coordinator who can help us realise further growth in this important part of our operations.
We want to finish by thanking all our partners, our Elders Advisory Group, our Project Support Officer, Jermaine Davis, and – of course – our Noongar Boodjar Rangers for making 2021 such a successful year.