To say we have had a busy time lately at NGT is a major understatement!
The end of financial year rush has extended well into July for NGT with a number of project reports due this month, as well as it being planting time – with a lot of native plants going in the ground: be they for display gardens, threatened orchid translocations back into the wild or general bushland revegetation projects. As a result of all the planting action, the NGT community nursery is starting to look empty – well done to Yvonne and Rose for meeting the logistical challenges of the community nursery project and for clocking up a very busy first year in the job!
In other news, last week I was invited to attend the National Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne, as one of 200 delegates invited from conservation organisations (both government and NGOs like NGT) to hear about the latest federal government plans for threatened species management. As well as creating a fantastic opportunity to be in the room and have discussions with so many of Australia’s leading threatened species scientists, the highlight of the day for me was the afternoon presentation about the Kiwirrkurra community of the Western Desert, and the role of traditional Aboriginal knowledge and land management practices in keeping the desert country in good health. It was a real privilege to hear from one of the surviving members of a family group known as ‘the Pintupi 9‘ – the last known family group to emerge from living traditionally in the Western Desert in 1984. Among other interesting insights, we heard how endangered bilbies are present in areas where traditional active management of land is still practiced (small scale fire-stick farming and cat hunting – a prized desert food since their arrival), but absent from areas no longer frequented by the traditional owners. It is heartening to see traditional knowledge being valued so highly now by ecologists, and the immense goodwill being shown by the Aboriginal people in sharing their knowledge – knowledge that in the Western Desert is still remarkably intact compared to other parts of Australia.
Finally, in some good news for NGT’s interest in fish conservation, this week we were awarded grant funding to run “fishing for the future” clinics in the South East over next summer- so keep an eye out in future blogs for all the details!