Healthy Country Planning Workshop in Australia

Story from Daniel Sprod, Conservation Management

In November 27, 2016 students came together for a Healthy Country Planning workshop in Australia’s Northern Territory to understand how Traditional Owners’ cultural knowledge and needs form essential parts of management and monitoring responses.

This was the first Healthy Country Planning workshop hosted by the Protected Area Learning and Research Collaboration. Participants came from across Australia and beyond and from a wide range of backgrounds and management contexts, including:

  • Aboriginal communities developing their own plans for looking after country
  • Marine conservation planning in Indonesia
  • Working with First Nations on fire management in the U.S.
  • Regional resource management in Papua New Guinea
  • Agencies supporting Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia
  • Managers of national parks in Australia

During the workshop, participants enjoyed a mix of formal presentations and learning by doing.  The group shared their diverse experiences with humour and sincerity that encouraged a wonderful learning experience. Two workshop groups focused their efforts on management issues in Kakadu National Park, including “right-way” fire and feral animal control around wetlands. The Mimal and Jawoyn Traditional Owner groups explored the relationship between language, getting out on country, and managing country using traditional lore and modern approaches.

This workshop was expertly led by Stuart Cowell and Daniel Sprod (Conservation Management), Alys Stephens (Warddeken Land Management, formerly of Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources), Emma Ignjic (Bush Heritage Australia), and Dominic Nicholls (Mimal Aboriginal Corp). The next workshop hosted by Protected Area Learning and Research Collaboration is scheduled for January 31, 2017, in the World Heritage Area of Tasmania, Australia.


Participants in the Healthy Country Planning workshop in Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory.

Participants in the Healthy Country Planning workshop in Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory, November, 2016.