Now in Perth for the Society of Ecological Restoration Meetings, I’m having a chance to re-connect with old & new conservation colleagues. There was a plenary session all day, which began with a welcome to country – a review of the conservation/ restoration arena in Australia. This was followed by a presentation by David Claudie, Kaanju Traditional Owner of the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation. He explained the structure of indigenous governance and land management on Kuuku I’yu and Aboriginal people’s connection to the land, its flora & fauna. Since 2000, it has become a tradition to acknowledge the Aboriginal people in formal presentations. This is part of the healing of the country from its tragic past. As would become a theme in the meeting, restoration is also a healing way.
It was a very rich day with many thought-provoking presentations. There is a successful project that has reconnected fragments in southwestern Australia called Gondwana Link. It gave me hope for the Connect to Protect Network! This is such a beautiful and diverse country that it is heartening to see a grassroots effort take off so successfully.
Fairchild friends will be happy to know that we received some recognition in a presentation by Steve Hopper, who pointed out that Fairchild is one of the few botanical gardens (7% of those in a survey) with a scientist doing restoration ecology. I was pleasantly surprised to see Fairchild’s name large on the screen. Steve Hopper stressed that botanical gardens have botanical expertise and will serve a large role to provide plant materials needed for restoration. It’s good to know that Fairchild is ahead of this curve and is one of the leaders among botanical gardens.