Protecting our Places (PoP) across the state

Congratulations to our 5 new PoP grantees! See snapshots of our newest grantees’ projects.

Connecting around the fire at a MAGIC cultural camp

Also learn about the incredible work our grantee Mothers Ancestral Guardians Indigenous Corporation (MAGIC) is doing with cultural burns and connecting to Country, plus how PoP’s new program format in 2017 has helped create success.

Meet our new PoP grantees

In 2020 the Environmental Trust awarded grants to 5 projects across the state, totalling $290,006. See full project summaries and grants awarded.

All Sustainable Futures Inc – NSW south coast (Nowra district)

All Sustainable Futures Inc was awarded a $60,000 grant for its Jerrinja Aboriginal Cemetery 'Roseby Park' development project.

To be implemented in partnership with the Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council, this project involves riverbank stabilisation and weed control works along the foreshore of the Crookhaven River. These works will also mitigate the impacts of future high tides on the culturally significant cemetery and graves at the 'Roseby Park' Jerrinja Aboriginal Cemetery.

Project activities include identifying cultural artefacts, middens and deceased people using ground penetrating radar on a proposed 200 sqm expansion of the cultural section of the cemetery, land surveys, construction of protective fencing and pathways and design and installation of culturally appropriate and approved Jerrinja Aboriginal interpretative signage acknowledging this cultural place.

Budjiti Traditional Owners – far north-west NSW (Bourke district)

Budjiti Traditional Owners was awarded $54,000 for a Cultural burning program to protect woodland and wetlands on Naree and Yantabulla Stations.

This project seeks to share Budjiti traditional knowledge through cultural fire practices, education of bush tucker species and cultural site protection on Naree and Yantabulla stations in north-west NSW amongst our community. It plans to:

  1. Improve the management of an important water bird breeding site in north western NSW
  2. Increase access to Country, employment and training for Budjiti people, and support the capture and sharing of knowledge from Elders by using a two-way approach to learning
  3. Increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of cultural knowledge and practices in conservation management.

Budjiti Traditional Owners in partnership with Bush Heritage will undertake cultural burns, training in ecological burning, ecological monitoring, develop a bush tucker poster, install interpretative signage and undertake protection works of a traditional oven hearth site.

Gumbaynggirr Jagun Aboriginal Corporation – mid north coast

Gumbaynggirr Jagun Aboriginal Corporation was awarded $59,300 for its Gumbaynggirr-led regeneration of koala habitat with Bellinger Landcare and private landowners project.

Dunggirr, Koala, is integral to Gumbaynggirr Dreaming and the continued relationship with Country on the NSW mid-north coast. The project seeks to regenerate koala habitat and revitalise relationships between people and place by partnering with private landowners and key conservation groups within the Bellingen LGA.

Through activities that connect, train and support key conservation groups along with the broader community around Gumbaynggirr land conservation protocols and practices, this project will increase koala habitat and health and facilitating intergenerational Gumbaynggirr learning to the next generation of Gumbaynggirr leaders, ensuring sustainable continuation of cultural and connection into the future.

Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council

Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council was awarded $60,000 for its project Bugalwen Jagun (to get well Country)

Sandy Point, at the confluence of the Wilsons River, is highly degraded and hardly resembles the once fertile hunting ground at the prime river bend site, formerly used for fishing, foraging, bathing and recreation by the local Aboriginal people.

This project will develop a management plan for Sandy Point, to treat weeds, revegetate the site and link to a koala corridor project implemented by Friends of the Koala. Native bushfood and medicinal herbs will be planted as part of the under story in addition to other native species. The site will also be used as an educational point for schools and community to learn about the land and its care.

Yawiriawiri Murri Ganuur Descendants Aboriginal Corporation

This grantee was awarded $56,706 for an Aboriginal Ancestral Camp revitalisation project.

YMGD aim to restore and rehabilitate the Aboriginal ancestral camp known as Borah Crossing, to rehabilitate and conserve areas of high ecological value including habitat for listed threatened species such as the Regent Honeyeater and an area of Commonwealth listed Critically Endangered Ecological Community – White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland.

The project will facilitate social and cultural connections for the Gamilaraay people to care for and be on Country through activities that include native plant revegetation, pest management, the protection of Borah rings, an Aboriginal cemetery and scar trees, installation of interpretive signage and provide opportunities to share cultural knowledge and engage in ceremonies.

Importantly, works will improve and build on existing wildlife corridors and habitat linkages and provide opportunity for local Aboriginal people to build capacity and help them take ownership by gaining skills, qualifications and experience in planning and delivering natural resource management and conservation projects.

New PoP format in 2017

Since 2002 the NSW Environmental Trust’s Protecting our Places (PoP) program has empowered Aboriginal communities across the state to protect, conserve and restore culturally important landscapes.

In 2017, the PoP program started a new format that includes two distinct stages – planning and implementation

  1. Planning (6-12 months) for face-to-face project management workshops facilitated by the Trust and completion of project planning.
  2. Implementation (18-24 months) for the delivery of on-ground works and activities planned in stage 1.

The first cohort to use the restructured POP program will start finalising their projects within the next 12 months. The Trust is looking forward to sharing more of the wonderful environmental and community outcomes, showcasing great collaborations and stronger relationships that will continue into the future.

MAGIC in Mallee Country

Preparing to monitor small animals – Rick Farley ReserveOne of the first PoP grantees to go through the restructured program is the Mothers Ancestral Guardians Indigenous Corporation (MAGIC), a 2017 PoP grantee which will finalise its project in May 2021.

This group is producing marvels out in Rick Farley Reserve in far south-west NSW, reconnecting cultural practice back to the land, and culturally restoring 12,000 ha of mallee land in the reserve. MAGIC has:

  • increased awareness of the native species across this cultural landscape
  • improved habitat diversity and resilience
  • culled feral pests such as goats, foxes, rabbits and cats
  • revitalised cultural land management practices, including seed collecting and replanting, and cool burns.

Cool mosaic burns in Rick Farley Reserve

MAGIC undertaking a cool mosaic burn at Rick Farley ReserveMAGIC ran numerous on-site camps with schools and community groups. These camps included malleefowl ceremony, walking on Country to help people connect with place, learning how to monitor for reptiles, sharing songs and dances for species, and visiting an ancient artefact site – as well as cool cultural burns.

The burns were to encourage natural regeneration and reduce bushfire risk and were the camp’s “icing on the cake” according to one camp participant.

“This was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had,” they said. “Such a sense of connection to Country and community, trust, responsibility, love and care.”