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Working on Country – a foundation to community wellbeing

With funding support from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and other stakeholders, North Coast Local Land Services and Gugin Gudduba Local Aboriginal Land Council have completed restorations works on Gugin Gudduba land at the Helmet Range near Wiangaree north of Kyogle.

The initial Foundation investment has successfully leveraged other investment from North Coast Local Land Services, NSW Nature Conservation Council (Firesticks) and Enterprise and Training Company to greatly expand the on-ground works, environmental and cultural assessment, fire planning and capacity building activity outcomes.

John Nagle, Senior Land Services Officer, North Coast Local Land Services said, “Without the Foundation’s support the project would not have kick-started other partner investment and enthusiasm.

“The project has delivered tremendous outcomes as the Helmet Range is a very biodiverse area, it supports many threatened species depend on the moist eucalypt grassy forest on the range and has high cultural heritage importance.”

North Coast Local Land Services has been supported with funding by the Foundation in the wider Border Ranges area over a number of years to manage the grassy forests which are critical habitat for endangered species such as Eastern Bristlebird and Hastings River Mouse.  Removal of environmental weeds such as Lantana and Crofton Weed and the reintroduction of fire to promote the grassy understorey habitat critical for many species is the key to management, along with control of cats and foxes which prey on many native species.

“We look forward to continuing to set a high standard of ecological restoration with the support of the Foundation,” John said.

Ron Randall, the CEO of the Gugin Gudduba Local Aboriginal Land Council said, “Our working on country team is very keen and excited to be working to restore the outstanding native forest areas at the Helmet Range, and to be connecting with their cultural and the spirit of this very significant place to the local Indigenous community.

“The team is also excited to be undertaking cultural assessments, planning for prescribed firestick burning and observe and recording the areas wildlife and their habitats with assistance from an expert field ecologist.”

Andrew Johnston, team leader with Gugin Gudduba LALC said, “It was very fulfilling and strengthening to be involved in the working on country land and cultural management program and to share with others our cultural heritage knowledge and connection to the land on the Helmet.”

The on-ground work and cultural fire planning under the partnership with North Coast Local Land Services, the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and other partners has greatly enhanced commitment to managing the land and highlighting the cultural importance of the Helmet to the Aboriginal community of the area.

The project was supported by North Coast Local Land Services with funding from the National Landcare Program, the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and Catchment Action NSW.

Media contact:

John Nagle, Senior Land Services Officer, Phone 6623 3921

Photo caption:

1. Andrew Johnston marks Gugin Gudduba land and grassy forest habitat
2. Site induction and planning with the Helmet Range Indigenous Team