PALRC’s first dedicated Healthy Country Planning training took place at Kakadu early November 2016, with 27 participants drawn from across Australia and beyond.
Expertly led by Stuart Cowell from Conservation Management, Daniel Sprod, Alys Stephens, Emma Ignjic and Dominic Nicholls the workshop was attended by students from a wide diversity of backgrounds and management contexts. These included: Aboriginal communities developing their own plans for looking after country; marine conservation planning in Indonesia; working with first nations on fire management in the USA; regional resource management in Papua New Guinea; agencies supporting Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia; and, those who manage national parks in Australia.
Two of the six work groups in the course focused their efforts on the case study of Kakadu National Park, concentrating their learnings on live management issues: “right-way” fire; and, feral animal control around wetlands. In both cases participants were seeking to understand how Traditional Owner cultural understanding and needs formed essential parts of management and monitoring responses.
Similarly, the Mimal and Jawoyn Traditional Owner groups teased out the nexus between language, getting out on country and managing country using traditional lore and more modern approaches.
Feedback indicated that the participants greatly appreciated the mix between formal presentations and learning by doing, especially in having real issues to work on and having a fantastic mix of experience on and between the working teams, the shared humour and relaxed delivery style. This extended beyond the course itself into the networks and experiences shared over the whole week.
The next PALRC course is scheduled for 31 January 2017 in the World Heritage Area of Tasmania. This will be advertised on the PALRC website.
PALRC acknowledges the generous support of Conservation Management in providing a scholarship for one place on the training course.
Figure 1 – Participants visiting Kakadu during a field trip