Category Archives: Community Conversation

Talking Fire: Indigenous burning events

How we manage fire is an important conversation for rural and bush communities. What can we learn from how Aboriginal people used fire? Are those techniques applicable today in local landscapes that have changed a lot over the last 200 years?

Join the Newstead community for two events this November:

Returning cultural burning To Country

Thursday 29 November 7.30pm.
Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street, Newstead). All welcome, no booking required.

After more than 170 years, the first cultural burns in our area were undertaken in May 2017 – one near Maryborough and the other in the Whipstick – and now another seven more have been completed.

Come and hear Scott Falconer (Assistant Chief Fire Officer with FFMVic) share his experience in the United States and Canada where he explored the involvement of Indigenous people in land and fire management. Scott’s research was supported through The Lord Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal Churchill Fellowship. He was accompanied by Trent Nelson, Dja Dja Wurrung man and Parks Victoria Ranger Team Leader for part of the research trip. Read more here

Reviving Indigenous Burning Practices in a Changed Landscape: Community Search Conference

Friday 30 November 9am-5pm
Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street, Newstead).
All welcome. Free event but please book your place by Monday 26 November via Eventbrite.

Join expert panellists and local community to explore how we might combine Western and Indigenous fire practice and knowledge in our local landscapes.

At this one-day event we will discuss how we can connect Indigenous fire traditions with current approaches to fuel reduction and planned burns to shape new ways to protect our landscape and communities. This event is for everyone with an interest in this topic: community, government, academics, researchers. Read more here

For more information go to Talking Fire on Facebook or our website https://talkingfire.org/ or drop us a line at newsteadtalkingfire@gmail.com. You can also read about the 2016 Talking Fire event.

Talking Fire is a community initiative designed to create different kinds of community conversations about fire. Supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants Program.

 

Advertisements

Muckleford Forest – a ‘KBA’ – a what?

Muckleford Forest is part of a KBA – a Key Biodiversity Area. This is an international designation! It used to be referred to as an IBA – an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. But what’s in a name? We know the Muckleford Forest is part of a network of forest remnants across our goldfields Box-Ironbark region that are outstanding for woodland birds and many other species. They are also part of what Dja Dja Wurrung call ‘upside down country’ in their Country Plan – reflecting the impact of gold mining.

Our KBA is the Bendigo Box-Ironbark KBA and includes all the box-ironbark woodland remnants that are significant for Swift Parrots in the Bendigo region of central Victoria (as defined by Kennedy and Tzaros 2005) and includes the following remnants (with land-ownership status): Sandon (SF), Strangways (private), Lockwood (SF), Muckleford-Maldon (Muckleford NCR and Maldon SF), Shelbourne (NCR), Diamond Hill-Mandurang-Sedgwick (Bendigo NP, Mandurang SF, Diamond Hill HR, Spring Gully Reservoir and Sedgwick SF), Pilchers Bridge-Lyell (Pilchers Bridge NCR and Lyell SF), Whipstick (NP), Wellsford (Regional Park, Mt Sugarloaf NCR and SF) and Kamarooka (NP; the whole of Kamarooka forest is taken in its entirety for its population of Diamond Firetails and Purple-gaped Honeyeaters). Most of the IBA is within protected areas or state forests, with only small forest blocks on private land.

Our loose network – the Muckleford Forest Friends Group – having delivered ‘Talking Fire’ last year (have a look at the presentations, audios, photos at Talking Fire) is now planning for the first KBA Easter Health Check of the Muckleford Forest in 2018.

Broadly speaking our plan – as one of a number of KBA Guardians – is to select around 10 sites across the Muckleford Forest, and monitor them regularly throughout 2017/2018, so that when the Easter Health Check comes around in 2018, we are in a better position to make an informed assessment. We’ve got ideas for systematic recording, as well as those serendipitous encounters, and using this website and posts as a way of sharing. We’d also like to link in with anyone who is making observations in the Muckleford Forest.

We’d love you to get involved. Next step is some more planning with Tanya Loos from Connecting Country who is coordinating across this large KBA. So let us know what you are interested in – if you like planning and organisation, our next meeting is Tues 2 May – or if you’d like to put your hand up for a monitoring site or to propose a location you’ve already been monitoring – or for any other ideas – drop us a line to mucklefordffg@bigpond.com

 

Don’t miss Talking Fire – register now

Talking Fire picsCome along to Talking Fire, 12-13 November. It’s free and you can come for the whole weekend, or drop in for a day or a session.

Talking Fire is about our local community, and fire in our local landscape. How can we work better as a community to reduce the risk to us – to our homes, families and friends – as well as protect our forests, wildlife and cultural sites? Talking Fire won’t be anything like the standard annual fire briefing!

Saturday will start at 10am with a welcome to Country, short talks on cultural burning, ecology, local fire experiences and fire myths with speakers Trent Nelson, Professor Andrew Bennett, Joan Sartori and Sam Strong.  Then we’ll head out to Mt Tarrengower to hear from long-term fire spotter Peter Skilbeck. Then we will visit the Muckleford Forest to look at how the forest has recovered after the 1981 fire and the more recent planned burns, with guides Paul Bates (DELWP), Tanya Loos, David Cheal and others. Instead you can drop into the Newstead Community Centre and record your fire stories with Gordon Dowell, or map favourite places that you’d like to see protected from fire. Everyone will come together at 3.30 to share what we have learnt, and set the scene for Sunday.

Sunday morning starts at 10.30, and our focus will be on risk. We’ll hear about landscape-scale fire planning from Alison Boak (DELWP), community planning around risk from Steve Pascoe, and vegetation and fire from David Cheal, fire ecologist. Turning to the local scene, representatives from our local brigades and the Shire will look at how local planning could reduce risk.

After lunch, provided by Newstead Men’s Shed and Community Garden, Jinette de Gooijer will facilitate an exploration of ideas and options on how we might respond – as a community – to what we have learnt over the weekend.

What will come out of Talking Fire? That is in the hands of everyone who comes and contributes! So come along. Register via our website – talkingfire.org – it only takes a minute and it’s free.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), and the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for funding support, and to all the local organisations and individuals who are helping make Talking Fire a reality.

Maldon, Newstead and places in between – Talking Fire

bushwalk-dry-diggings-2015-035

Join us in a conversation to better understand fire in our landscape at the Newstead Community Centre over the weekend of 12/13 November.

‘Talking Fire’ will discuss what fire means for our local communities and the environment. The aim is to bring local expertise and knowledge together with outside experts in the field of fire behaviour and fire ecology, so that the community can talk about and better understand, plan, and live with fire.

Some of the questions driving our conversation are:

  • What is the history of fire in our area?
  • How have the landscape, community & fire policies changed?
  • How can we protect what we value?
  • How can we respond to fire risk, now & in the future?

You may have other questions, ideas or solutions.

We are also seeking local knowledge and stories. Do you have a “fire experience”, direct or indirect, to share? As a part of the weekend Gordon Dowell will be recording the stories and histories of locals. The Newstead CFA Auxiliary are amongst those we will be keen to hear from.

We hope that from the weekend our local landscape can be seen anew, through the eyes of scientists, fire experts and long lived locals alike, and through a wider, “landscape lens”, not just from a household or property viewpoint.

Whether you live in Newstead or Maldon town, or the bush and farmland surrounds, we invite you along to ‘talk fire’. Come to any or all sessions. The event is free, but we need bookings to help our caterers, the Newstead Preschool and Mens’ Shed, provide enough for all.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire, Maldon & District Community Bank and Norman Wettenhall Foundation for supporting the event. Many more supporters are contributing in non-financial ways. See our website http://www.talkingfire.org and to book.

Please download and share our flier too, and look for Talking Fire on Facebook.

Talking Fire: A Community Conversation (12-13 November, Newstead)

Our Community Conversation will explore many questions. For example: Will bush regeneration change fire risk?

Our Community Conversation will explore many questions. For example: Will bush regeneration change fire risk?

Muckleford Forest Friends Group has received a grant through the Mount Alexander Shire Council 2016 Community Grants Program to present a Community Conversation on Understanding fire in our landscape.

The idea comes from the Newstead Community Plan, and reflects a concern about the way that prescribed burning has targeted public land without a landscape-wide consideration of risk and risk reduction. The new approach adopted by the State Government – Safer Together – suggests that new approaches are possible, and that it is a good time to open up a community-wide conversation.

During the weekend we will explore the history of fire in the Newstead-Maldon landscape, looking back to land and fire management practices of the Jaara people, reflecting on landscape changes, mapping what we value, and building an understanding of risk and different ways to we can respond to risk.

This event is being designed for in Newstead, Maldon and everywhere in between and close by!

Planning is underway for the weekend and we’d welcome your input – ideas, possible speakers, helping planning walks and site visits, sourcing maps and resources – and of course coming along and being part of the Community Conversation. Able to help? Please email mucklefordffg@bigpond.com

This project is supported through the Mount Alexander Shire Council 2016 Community Grants Program, auspiced by MULGA (Maldon Urban Landcare Group), and supported by local groups including Newstead Landcare, Muckleford Catchment Landcare, Newstead 2021, Connecting Country, Newstead CFA Brigade.

You can download a summary of the grant application here and also look at page 42 of the Newstead Community Plan.