Innovative Indigenous Bunya Mountains project receives Australian award

The Bunya Mountains Elders Council project, having already achieved great success in engaging Indigenous communities in the management of Australia’s precious natural resources, has now been lauded more widely by winning a prestigious award in Queensland, Australia.

The project, supported through Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Australia’s partnership with the Burnett Mary Regional Group in south-east Queensland, has been awarded the Leighton Holdings Indigenous Award category at the 2011 Queensland Landcare Awards.

The Bunya Mountains Elders Council project’s primary aim is to protect and conserve the natural environment, wildlife and cultural integrity of the iconic Bunya Mountains. One of the features of the project is the development of a sub-programme called Kids on Country, which has been generously supported by the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation, the Department of Education and Training and Education Queensland. Kids on Country is developing cultural curriculum materials to engage the younger generation in environmental sustainability and Indigenous heritage, specific to the culturally and biologically diverse Bunya Mountains.

FFI Australia is also a member of the Bunya Partnership Coordination Group, supporting the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers – a team of Indigenous conservation land managers who maintain, conserve and restore the natural and cultural landscape in the Bunya Mountains region. The team aim to bring back traditional cultural management to the grassy balds in the Bunya Mountains through fire management, weed and pest management, park maintenance and also conduct vegetation surveys. Significantly, in 2010, Murri Ranger, Vincent Law, was the first traditional owner to light a management fire on the Bunya Mountains in over 100 years.

Winning their category in the Queensland Landcare Awards means the Bunya Mountains Elders Council project will now go through as a nominee at the 2012 National Landcare Awards, to be held in Sydney next year.