Two lucky members of the Landholder Collab team recently had the opportunity to attend and present at a forum about the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala (K2W) link of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative. The fourth annual K2W Forum was held on the 8th of December at the stunning Wombeyan Caves, in a historical building surrounded by wildlife: lazing kangaroos, screeching gang-gang cockatoos and foraging bowerbirds. The forum was designed to bring people together to talk about the partnership’s work and future vision.
Presentations at the forum showed that there is already a range of ways that people are exploring to connect and protect the landscape. Some inspiring and passionate speakers discussed cross-property pest control, volunteer weed control groups, schools biodiversity programs and opportunities for grants to help these on-ground efforts. We also heard about how the landscape connects people in Aboriginal cultures, and how some awesome local traditional burning projects are helping to improve the land. The key speaker, Bob Debus AM, talked about how the strength and longevity of environmental projects is increasingly falling to community networks. A shining example of this idea is that so many farmers and country people contribute to such volunteer organisations and initiatives.
The K2W is one of the partners in our research about landholder collaboration for greater environmental and production benefits. We presented some initial results from our social research so far, focussing on the Central Tablelands (Hovells Creek) case study (our slides are here). We spoke about some of the ways that landholders are already collaborating and the kinds of areas that people are interested in pursuing further collaboration (for more info, see our posts on Hovells Creek and Watershed). Also, we showed some survey results about landholders’ preferences and willingness to use an online tool, which we will be developing to help to facilitate landholders’ collaborative momentum. Interestingly, while some of the other presentations looked at environmental initiatives on agricultural lands, we appeared to differ in that we are particularly interested in the integration of environmental and production goals. Sustainable agriculture and other potentially sustainable sources of income, such as eco-tourism, can provide new ways to create linkages and collective benefits for the region. Continuing our work with interested landholder groups next year will hopefully show some of these ideas in action.
We are grateful for the experience and encourage anyone interested in these events to attend – inspiring talks, great connections and, in this case, a hair-raising drive through the valley as well.
More photos and info about the event are available here.
More information about the K2W as part of the Great Eastern Ranges is available here.