Gaining insight from Traditional Owners

Students from Jurien Bay District High School enjoyed a day of culture, conservation and community with Kwelena (dolphin) Mambakort (by the sea) Aboriginal Corporation (KMAC) and the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) on Monday.

The field trip coordinated by KMAC and the NACC Coastal and Marine team combined Traditional Ecological Knowledge, local history, heritage and current conservation efforts in Wedge Island (Wetj Boya).

With support from NACC and working closely with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, KMAC plays an important role in the management of Wedge Island.

The Traditional Owners actively protect cultural sites, shorebird and seabird habitat, block illegal vehicle tracks, revegetate the dunes while controlling weeds and remove dumped waste and marine debris from the area.

Visiting Aboriginal Community Consultant Richard Nelly accompanied NACC Aboriginal Program Coordinator Greg Burrows and Aboriginal Liaison Officer Bianca McNeair to learn from the Traditional Owners and support future community engagement opportunities.

Also attending was PhD candidate Asha McNeill from the University of Western Australia who spoke to students about the positive response of community to the Jurien Bay Marine Park.

A highlight of the day was a presentation by Chris Shaw (KMAC) on artefacts including tools and spear heads collected from the area. Coastal and Marine Project Officer Hamish Longbottom says “This field trip provided students with the opportunity to learn from Traditional Owners about how they are caring for country in a changing environment.”

“Feedback from students indicated they had learnt a lot and really enjoyed the day. The collaboration on the day revealed to students how important effective partnerships are in conservation”

Yued Elder Charlie Shaw welcomes students from Jurien Bay District High School and visitors to country.
Yued Elder Charlie Shaw welcomes students from Jurien Bay District High School and visitors to country.

NACC Coastal and Marine officers Hamish Longbottom and Vanessa McGuiness had one final task for the students- a marine debris survey resulting in over 20kg of rubbish removed from the beach in less than one hour.

Thanks to KMAC for their wonderful BBQ for students and visitors and Jurien Bay Adventures for providing transport to and from Wedge Island.

You can find more information here, on NACC’s Aboriginal Participation Program or the Coastal and Marine Program.

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