The Conservation and Land Management Program trains Traditional Owners from Bunurong and Wurundjeri in the classroom and in the field. The course is run through Holmesglen TAFE on the Mornington Peninsula in partnership with 10 Trust for Nature covenantors.
In total the properties cover 100 hectares and are important habitat for a number of threatened species and vegetation communities, including Leafy Greenhood, Common Dunnart, Swamp Skink, Powerful Owl, Australasian Bittern, Swamp Scrub and Coastal Moonah Woodland. We’re focusing on controlling the larger weed issues such as Sweet Pittosporum, Blackberry and Boneseed which will increase native habitat for the wildlife.
It’s a great example of two-way learning: landholders, teachers and Trust for Nature staff learn the traditional knowledge while Traditional Owners can learn about practical land care techniques such as flora identification and threatened species. It also provides employment for the Traditional Owners in their local area.
Trust for Nature’s Ben Cullen said the training is very enriching for everyone involved: “It’s a really new concept where we can help landholders manage their properties and hear from Traditional Owners about their cultural knowledge while the Traditional Owners are receiving training and employment.”
The program is made possible through funding from the State Government and is supported by Trust for Nature, the Bunurong Land Council, the Wurundjeri Tribal Land Council and the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority.
Photo by Annette Ruzicka