Gunduwa is an innovation leader! And we have living proof of that – in the form of a beautiful trophy and certificate that we were presented with recently when declared the winner of the 'Innovation' category at the 2017 Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Leadership Awards.
The 2017 Regional NRM Leadership Awards were hosted by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) in Geraldton on October 6, celebrating the many amazing contributions that have been made by individuals and groups across the NACC NRM region during the past 12 months.
The Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association was a nominee in the Innovation Award category, and was recognised on the night as the category winners for our efforts at encouraging and supporting innovative approaches to conservation as we progress on-ground conservation outcomes in the Gunduwa region.
Gunduwa is the local Badimaya name for the echidna. Badimaya people are the Traditional Custodians of the region in which the Association currently operates.
The award was presented by Yvonne Messina from Regional Development Australia, and accepted on my behalf by Bush Heritage Australia Western Rangelands Healthy Landscapes Manager Elisabeth McLellan.
“Gunduwa is a community-based organisation progressing on-ground conservation outcomes for regional Western Australia,” said Ms Messina in announcing the award. “It was established in 2014 via a mining offset agreement with the aim of enhancing regional biodiversity and sustainability outcomes.
“Gundawa works across many tenures, including public and private lands, and works with a range of sectors, communities and ecological systems to foster engagement, build collaboration, and catalyse improved land management.
“The Association provides financial resources to support innovative, collaborative and long-term research projects that enhance biodiversity and sustainability across the region.”
Following the presentation current Chair of the Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association Mr Luke Bayley thanked the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council and the Midwest TAFE for sponsoring these important awards that acknowledge natural resource management and conservation efforts.
Luke also added that he is incredibly proud of the work the Gunduwa Association has led over the past 5 years. Bringing together various groups across the five outback Local Government Regions of Mt Marshall, Dalwallinu, Perenjori, Morawa and Yalgoo.
Gunduwa has delivered more than $300,000 to local science, conservation, youth development and Aboriginal land management projects.
Projects that are currently underway include:
- Building capacity for structured bird monitoring in the Gunduwa region;
- Restoration of ecosystems functions and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes;
- Engaging the Badimaya Rangers with conservation and land management on country;
- Assessing restoration success using reptiles and small mammals;
- Conservation of insectivorous microbats; new approaches to mapping genetics and infectious disease threats in Australia's global biodiversity hotspot;
For more information on these and past projects, see the Gunduwa website.
Also at last year’s Charles Darwin Reserve and Blues for the Bush, Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association hosted the first ever Gunduwa Forum where over 300 people spent time learning about:
- Natural Resource Management across different land uses in the Gunduwa Region
- Change from the ground up: Building communities and soil health in the Gunduwa Region
- Skills to read the landscape and how it changes
- Building sustainable businesses
- The making of the modern outback
- Case Studies from the region
- Gunduwa project presentations
- Ecology tours and focused workshops.
It's expected that Gunduwa and other partners will hold the second Gunduwa Forum at the 2018 Charles Darwin Reserve Open Day and Blues for the Bush.
Thanks must also go to the Committee of Management that oversees the Association and put in many hours. The Committee is made up of local conservation, farming, Local Government, Aboriginal and natural resource management representatives.