By Emma Ruben
The science of caring for the land goes back as far as humanity.
A new Western Australian training centre, now launched after an establishment phase last year, aims to bring science and Indigenous businesses together to deliver healthier country, communities and people.
The Centre aims to provide employment and business development for Indigenous people, with support from restoration scientists.
Centre executive and Curtin University Biodiversity and Environmental Science Chair, Stephen van Leeuwen, heads up research. The Wardandi Noongar botanical ecologist says the Centre will be driven by a First Nations’ approach.
Also in Cosmos: Caring for Country
“Each of the three research nodes have an academic research lead, who’s highly credentialled in the science of that area,” van Leeuwen says.
“But they partner with an Indigenous person to ensure the research and work has an Indigenous client who wants to know the solutions to their issues.
“It’s not about the academic researcher undertaking work they think is important. It’s about asking mob what they want to know in the restoration science, or the socioeconomics, or the eco-health, and then addressing that research issue.”
Van Leeuwen says this research will help determine whether or not projects are worth pursuing.
The research will provide Indigenous clients with a business case to allow them to apply for grant and funding to progress the projects, combining the business framework with plans to restore land, creating a sustainable model.
“Healing country is not only about the economic and environmental,” van Leeuwen says.
“Very much, especially from an Indigenous perspective, it includes the wellbeing of people.
“If we look after Country, Country looks after us.”
Are you interested in how science and technology is transforming production, energy, and agriculture? Then our new email newsletter Greenlight Project, launching soon, is for you. Click here to become an inaugural subscriber.
The Greenlight Project is a year-long look at how regional Australia is preparing for and adapting to climate change.