Victoria’s Nature Festival springs into action
The first ever Victoria Nature Festival springs into action this week with a diverse range of free, nature-based virtual activities featuring park rangers, wildlife, conservation lectures, Traditional Owner tours and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) sites. The festival also includes school activities, nature-based activities and virtual events, starting on Monday 28 September until 11 October 2020.
Our picks include a virtual Facebook Live tour of the amazing Budj Bim National Park UNESCO World Heritage site, in the Gunditjmara country of south western Victoria. It takes place on Tuesday 29 September and will be hosted by Glenelg Hopkins CMA and Budj Bim Tours.
Budj Bim is one of twenty World Heritage sites in Australia listed by UNESCO and is the first Australian Aboriginal cultural site to be added exclusively for its cultural significance. Virtual tourists can expect to learn about how Traditional Owners used the lava flows of the Budj Bim area to trap and harvest eels and live in Victoria's South-West.
The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability featured an aerial shot of Budj Bim on the cover of its latest publication highlighting Science for Sustainable Development as the guide for the Victorian State of the Environment 2023 Report.
The aerial photograph shows the Tae Rak channel and holding pond specifically. The image highlights the vast beauty and complexity of the aquaculture system consisting of constructed dams, ponds and channels designed to direct and store eels and fish for routine harvesting. (Image Courtesy of Tyson Lovett-Murray and Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation)
Over forty years, the traditional Gunditjmara owners have recovered ownership of various properties spanning the coastal aquaculture system, slowly discovering the complexity of the network. Budj Bim was built on principles of respect for country and was constructed to support a concentrated population. It required precision in construction to manage water flow and required an in depth understanding of natural processes, with evidence of sophisticated Aboriginal engineering practices. Budj Bim is archaeologically dated at 8,000 years of continuous use. (Acknowledgement: Leigh, E, C Kuta, ‘Aboriginal Engineering – Technologies for an Enduring Civilisation’, Indigenous Engineering)
Traditional Owners and government agencies working together for the improvement of the environment on traditional lands through traditional means, feature in several online events and videos as part of the festival.
Other key highlights include:
• The Pin My Nature App that has is designed to allow us all to identify and share our favourite nature places in Victoria.
The Pin My Nature App has been developed by DELWP’s Biodiversity Division with the goal of filling up the map of Victoria as much as possible over the two weeks of the festival. In the future, data collected through updated versions of the map will help DELWP report on the Bio2037 targets relating to Victorians Value Nature and support broader public land planning.
• Live Penguin TV with the opportunity to watch the Phillip Island Penguin Parade at sunset (6:30pm nightly) via Facebook or YouTube. There is also the opportunity to take part in a Live Q and A on September 28 with Andre Chairadia, so have your penguin questions ready.
• Trust for Nature is hosting the John Paul Memorial Lecture (Webinar) – Innovations in Land Conservation via Zoom on September 28 at 7pm. The lecture will feature Dr Debbie Saunders: CEO, Wildlife Drones, PhD (Conservation Ecology); Dr Katherine Moseby: (CEO Ecological Horizons); Professor David Bowman: Pyrogeography and Fire Science and will be hosted by Dr Nicki Munro.
Did you know that Victoria is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the ACT) with an independent Commissioner charged with periodic State of the Environment reporting? Read about Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.