Quote of the Moment:

“He who hesitates is probably right.”
Bogovich’s Law

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Landscape Management Workshops

KACHANA PASTORAL COMPANY

introducing the

“BYRNE TERRY ELLENBRAE FUND”

and a challenge for greater community commitment to desirable land management outcomes in our region.

Pastoralist Byrne Terry had great dreams for Ellenbrae Station and the Kimberley and he is still well remembered. Our environmental work with Byrne began in 1997 as friend, neighbour and fellow land-manager. Sadly, as a result of a fatal motorbike accident Byrne left us all Easter 2001, however the vision of healthy, productive Kimberley landscapes serving local communities remains.

To be of real value, environmental work needs to be internationally relevant, but also producing and maintaining tangible local results (both on the ground and within the mind of the community). Our Landscape Management Workshops in support of the “Byrne Terry Ellenbrae Fund” aim to do this.

The “Byrne Terry Ellenbrae Fund” is a natural progression of work started with Byrne. The purpose of this fund is to pay for scholarships to agricultural students or young farmers in ecological crisis zones. The scholarship involves an Environmental Literacy course followed by a three-month practical stint applying this knowledge in a Kimberley landscape revitalisation project. During the last month, the learning experience will be wrapped up by Holistic Management training conducted by an internationally certified Holistic Management educator who has field experience. The trainee then has access to an internationally active support network. (See: www.HolisticManagement.com: providing the link between a healthy environment and a sound economy. Photos taken in conjunction with the “Matetzi Project” in crisis-bound Zimbabwe show what is possible: http://managingwholes.com/zimbabwe.htm )

Compared to the sort of historic environmental degradation we find in other parts of the world, our own Kimberley environmental challenges may seem insignificant by comparison; however when revitalising landscapes the same natural laws and similar principles apply. When tackling our own challenges (flood mitigation strategies, pest control, reducing green-house emissions and other impacts of wildfire, minimising erosion, protecting biodiversity, enhancing productivity, etc.), rather than reinventing the wheel it makes good sense to share knowledge gained from other parts of the world; it also makes good sense to share locally gained knowledge with others. Generally, people who feel empowered are more motivated to do something about their own predicaments than if their actions are determined by legislation or funding from foreign bodies and/or consultants. For young people who have the desire/need to be involved in landscape management, we thus encourage first-hand experiences of working together with land-managers as they address their own challenges. (We do not in any way wish to criticise existing aid-programs, but we do have first-hand knowledge of many projects that were well intended, well financed and that have failed dismally in Central and Southern Africa over the last 30 years. Based on this knowledge we merely wish to add a new approach to existing strategies.)

We invite local and international scientific researchers to monitor the results of our landscape management and we host university students for this purpose. The land management results we achieve are viewed and discussed at our workshops and reported on the Internet. A high standard of information is imparted at our workshops and we set commercial rates with the aim of producing a financial surplus to support the “Byrne Terry Ellenbrae Fund”. Three such grass-roots environmental conferences have since been conducted, however the cost of guest-speaker travel has only seen a limited amount of funds available for the fund. The great learning experience that each of these events has offered, and the results that we see from putting acquired knowledge into practice has encouraged Kachana Pastoral Company to continue hosting these workshops on an annual basis. We now strongly encourage more community participation to support these quality-time events.

Financially, these are non-profit events: Guest speakers donate their professional time and sacrifice the opportunity cost of being away from other commitments. In the spirit of outback hospitality we believe it to be fair that invited guest speakers are not saddled with the costs of travel. The flow of practical information into the region is invaluable and we wish for more people to be able to benefit. To maintain the standard of guest-speakers in years to come, Kachana Pastoral Company is seeking assistance with meeting the cost of airline tickets. Our annual target is: three high-profile guest speakers and Aus $ 15’000.00 to meet the associated expenses.

We are now seeking the participation of local sponsors: private individuals, businesses and corporations. We thank local farmers who in the past have been most supportive in donating local produce to be sampled and enjoyed by participants. We thank the private people and the people within the government agencies who support us. We encourage more members of the community to take up this challenge for greater community commitment in working towards better land management outcomes in this region. People and local businesses that wish to co-sponsor this annual event (regularly or on a “one of” basis) may send contributions to: KACHANA PASTORAL COMPANY, PO Box 779, Kununurra WA 6743. Alternatively sponsors can arrange to pay directly for/towards air-travel expenses.

This information is supplied by Chris Henggeler, of Kachana Pastoral Company, March 2004.