Chevron and Conservation Volunteers Australia have been working together since 2011. Two highly successful and innovative programs have been run that provided essential environmental and cultural assistance to the Perth region.
The Chevron Aboriginal Conservation Training Program delivers field based training and qualifications to people of Aboriginal descent. The program offers employment pathways in conservation management in the Perth region, (re)connecting participants back to their culture and to their country. The result of the program is improved confidence, life-skills development and contribution to environmental management of natural areas within the Perth region. In 2016 we successfully delivered three twelve week projects (and the beginning of a fourth in November!), resulting in the engagement of 36 trainees. Whilst undertaking their practical training, participants assist community groups, land managers and government agencies with priority conservation activities. These activities include planting native species, rehabilitation, invasive weed management (chemical and manual removal), brush and debris removal at key sites such as Yanchep National Park, Brockman Park (Bull Creek) and Clontarf Hill.
The program benefits by enhanced cultural experiences with visits to sacred sites throughout the Perth region. Walyunga National Park has been one of these sites. The visit is guided by significant elders and cultural mentors from key organisations such as Bindi Bindi Dreaming and the Departments of Parks and Wildlife. Participants continue to highly value the program, the training it delivers and the opportunities it provides culturally and environmentally.
“Working on country for us is a good thing. I support programs like yours with Chevron that engage and connect our people to country, we need more of this, more opportunities to support our people and to keep them away from drugs or alcohol” – Noel Nannup, Whadjuk Elder
“It’s great to see young and older Aboriginal people working together on this program, being connected to country and culture. A lot is lost and with programs like this we can make a real difference” – Marissa Verma, Cultural Mentor, Bindi Bindi Dreaming
“I have really enjoyed working on the Chevron Aboriginal Conservation Training Program and have learnt a lot about Conservation and Land Management. One of my favourite parts about the program has been the cultural mentor sessions and connecting back to country. In particular, I really enjoyed the site visit to John Forrest National Park as it a very scared and beautiful spot” – Deborah Ryan, June 2016 – October 2016 Participant
Completion of the Chevron River and Catchment Restoration Program
This year saw the completion of the River and Catchment Restoration program, a highly successful project that provided long-term assistance to Perth’s waterways and catchments, including the Swan and Canning Rivers. Through-out the lifetime of the program, over 8,000 community and Chevron volunteers contributed over 60,000 hours to waterway and catchment restoration. The program aims to help community groups tackle important conservation projects that would have otherwise been beyond their capacity.
Activities undertaken by volunteers were varied and extensive and included native tree, sedge and bushland planting
on banks, wetlands and catchments. In addition, weeding of invasive species, erosion control, water testing, native seed collection for plant propagation, rubbish removal, mulching, waterbird habitat enhancement and fish nursery enhancement have been undertaken. Volunteers contributed to long-term restoration programs at several priority locations including Bannister Creek, which has seen the return of threatened species to the area since rehabilitation commenced.
The program has played a vital role in sustaining and improving the health of Perth’s rivers and wetlands.