As we come to the end of 2020, the 10 Deserts team would like to thank our traditional owners, project partners, BHP Foundation and supporters for their ongoing collaboration and commitment to the project. In spite of this tough and unexpected year, we have all achieved a great deal.
The desert country is a special place, and we are grateful to all those who continue to protect it.
We look forward to 2021 and being able to get out on-country more and continue to fund project activities with our Indigenous project partners to ensure healthy country, healthy people and a strong indigenous voice for the desert.
Wishing you all the very best for the holiday period and a happy new year!
New steering committee chair elected
At the November 10DP steering committee meeting, elections were held for the chair and deputy positions.
Congratulations to Peter Murray (centre) who was elected as the new chair of the steering committee (SC) for a two year term. Peter is the CEO of Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation that manages the Warlu Jilajaa Jumu Indigenous Protected Area and Ngurrara working on country ranger programs.
He is part of the Walmajarri group on Ngurrara part A of the Great Sandy Desert and assists communities to build capacity to function in a remote and isolated area.
Peter works with rangers to achieve their mission to look after country and his group is currently working on monitoring climate change and formulating strategies to reduce negative impacts on his country and people.
Andrew Minyardie (left) was elected as the new deputy chair. We want to thank Andrew for his work as the previous chair of the SC in leading the committee for the past two years. He has been a key part of the project's formation, has represented the project at numerous conferences and events, and has helped share the vision of the 10 Desert dream. Thank you Andrew.
New 10 Deserts program manager appointed
Zane Hughes has joined the 10DP team as program manager.
Zane is a Waanyi man from north west Queensland who has spent his life in the Northern Territory and Queensland, with the past eight years here in Perth raising his family.
Zane comes to the team with a strong background in community development and project management with 30 years in grassroots support of education, health, employment and economic advancement within communities across WA, NT and QLD. He has worked for major mining companies, state and federal programs and the non government sector to progress Indigenous Australians right to be part of the mainstream economy.
Zane has a strong cultural background and looks forward to supporting and ensuring our desert communities have their visions brought to realisation through the framework of the 10DP and IDA leadership.
Good to have you on board Zane!
IDA Conference a zooming success
The Indigenous Desert Alliance (IDA) took up the challenge of staying connected during COVID-19 restrictions, by holding their second online event this year - the 2020 annual IDA Conference.
The conference was held over three days 10-12 November. A studio was created at the University of Western Australia and links set up over Zoom. The conference was a great success with a fantastic turnout from all across the desert with over 150 rangers participating in the diverse program, which included government ministers dropping in, ranger presentations and videos, wellbeing and mental health.
Staying connected is vital and even a pandemic can’t stand in the way of groups wanting to catch up!
Feral camel management
Over the last few months both the Kimberley Land Council and the Central Land Council have conducted feral camel culls. These were both successful and there is some anecdotal reports that trees and waterholes in the Walyarta Conservation Area and Nyangumarta are looking healthier as the camel numbers have dropped.
We are keen to keep up the momentum on the management of feral camels. They are a very destructive force in the deserts with an ability to consume vegetation from close to the ground to more than 3 metres high – a range no native animal comes close to. Quandongs and other trees suffer badly from camel browsing.
A thirsty camel can drink more than 100L of water over a day - a kangaroo will drink only up to 1.5L. This can be catastrophic for native animals who are dependent on water during dry conditions.
The project together with Jimmy (Arid Lands Environment Centre) and the Buffel Free Great Victoria Desert working group have developed a short animated video to provide information on what buffel grass is, its impact and how to manage it.
The video is available in English and Pitjantjatjara and can be translated into other Indigenous languages. Email Jimmy firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Carbon & co-benefits
The project is continuing to pursue carbon opportunities for desert mobs with plans for research in the Tanami over the next couple of years. The desk-based and on-ground research will hopefully allow a case to be made to extend the savanna burning method into the Tanami and southern Kimberley areas where there is higher fire frequency than other desert country. We are currently looking for additional financial support to make this happen from March 2021.
The project has also engaged Accounting for Nature to assist with developing a method to measure the environmental condition of country based remote monitoring and complementary on-ground research. This together with the social and cultural benefits from right-way fire will form the basis of healthy country credits for sale to corporates and philanthropic organisations in the future.
If you want to know more or can assist with any of the above activities, get in touch with Peter See at email@example.com
Work is continuing on the development of the regional tourism website - Desert Journeys - targeting tourists planning a trip to the desert. The website can showcase individual groups, tourism products or experiences. The draft site has been shown to a number of groups including the project’s tourism working group and to participants at the recent IDA conference.
The development of the regional tourism strategy last year (see www.10deserts.org/tourism ) highlighted the lack of good market research for desert groups. To try and address this we are talking with relevant prescribed body corporates for the Canning Stock Route analysing the permit system data while conducting wider online surveys. Feedback is sought on what tourists are interested in and how they found recent trips to the desert.
If you are interested in being involved in 10DP’s tourism activities get in touch with Peter See at firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous fire traineeships
In 2021, we are planning on creating paid internships for between 2-4 Indigenous men and women to become trained in fire management. The internships will run for about two years and will provide training and support in different ways of looking after country using fire. If you, or someone you know, is interested in getting skilled up in fire management contact Gareth email@example.com
Fire management planning
Planning for the 2021 field season is well underway. If your team(s) would like support in planning for fire work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The 10 Deserts Project acknowledges the traditional owners of the country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future.