Munjoorum, meaning coming together, is the theme of new workshops focussed on managing fire on country to ensure natural habitats stay intact for local flora and fauna.
Munjoorum Fire Project workshops will be held across the region, facilitated by River Nations Indigenous Corporation.
The workshops invite the community to share and exchange knowledge about fire and land management practices, discuss the risks of wildfire on country and learn about traditional Indigenous methods of burning and the range of benefits these techniques have on the environment.
River Nations Indigenous Corporation CEO Norelle Watson said the project would work closely with people who were involved in caring for the land.
Norelle Watson said the project would work closely with people who were involved in caring for the land.
“Munjoorum is a Goreng Goreng word for coming together so we are coming together with people who are involved in caring for country on a daily basis,” Ms Watson said.
“It is a Federal Government funded program and River Nations is project managing the Munjoorum project.
“Gibee Goonyim Land Management are the fire ecologists and they will be part of the facilitation process.”
Norelle said the Munjoorum Fire Project workshops provided the opportunity for the community to come together and discuss the different fire practices currently used in the region.
“It is an opportunity to sit down and meet and talk together and learn because Indigenous fire burning knowledge is a wonderful resource that hasn’t really been tapped into,” she said.
“We have been caring for country for over 65,000 years so we have some wonderful people and elders who work in this space and are really passionate about caring for our country.”
Indigenous Land Fire Management
River Nations will be working closely with Gibee Goonyim Land Management who will provide information on the methods used in Indigenous land fire management.
Indigenous Fire Practitioner at Gibee Goonyim Everett Johnson said there was a reason that there were still 500 year old trees standing in local natural areas.
“Indigenous land fire management is something that has never really been tapped into and it is a form of land management that has sustained these beautiful old forests and 500 year old trees,” Mr Johnson said.
“We will be discussing what we can do to incorporate and adapt traditional fire management in today’s modern-day landscape and how we can implement an old science in today’s modern landscape.
“To ensure the natural habitats stay intact to provide homes for the diverse range of flora and fauna across the region, it is important that this method of burning is understood within the community.”
Project Officer at River Nations and co-owner of Gibee Goonyim Gabrielle Norman said the local ecosystems were heavily impacted by fire, which is why it was crucial people attended the workshops to understand more effective ways of burning.
“The different fires have a major impact on species biodiversity as well as an impact on humans with wildfires contributing to climate change,” Ms Norman said.
“A lot of the animals and plants have adapted to having the fire as it is part of their evolution and part of their breeding cycles and life cycles because they rely on the fire for food and habitat to create a healthy environment for them to live in.
“In Bundaberg, a lot of the land is agriculture and horticulture so there isn’t much we can do about changing that with fire but in our natural areas, bringing back the cool fire, like what the Indigenous people used to do, can help to promote biodiversity and ease the pressure off our plants and animals.”
Uncle Chris Eastfield who will be facilitating the Munjoorum Fire Project workshops said the opportunity to heal the country and make the country better through these practices would be valuable to many of the local landowners.
“We have been using these practices for thousands of years, which are healing the country and making the country better,” Uncle Chris said.
“While it isn’t instantaneous it may take three or four years of burning, but you see each year an improvement and it is the way forward, and you know with those slow cool burns and it means you reduce a lot of those heavy fuel burns so you don’t get those really intense fires that we see.”
You can sign up to attend the workshops by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0413 023 105.
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