In 2023, North Regional TAFE in collaboration with Murdoch University developed a practical intensive training program on the Savannah Enrichment model, a system for growing native bush tucker plants within a diverse ecosystem.
The course was delivered in Term 4 and was held at NR TAFE’s Balu Buru site with Horticulture lecturers Kim Courtenay and Stu Bonner delivering units critical to the implementation of the bush tucker model on-Country.
More than 15 Aboriginal Rangers enrolled in the program from four different ranger groups in the West Kimberley, with up to 30 participating in the program’s activities when joined by Milliya Rumurra students!
The course combined horticulture skills applied to conservation and land management and included a hands-on bush product development workshop with TAFE alumni Pat Torres, all of which is of great relevance to Rangers’ work caring for country.
The partnership with Murdoch University has enabled sophisticated academic research to be carried out together with Vocational Education and Training, creating up-skilling opportunities for Indigenous students through the conduction of PhD Candidate Sara Marques’ research project. Sara’s research explores the social and ecological benefits of incorporating native bush tucker cultivation to diversify land stewardship practices. This collaboration highlights the cutting-edge work done by NR TAFE in native plant cultivation, at a time where the boom in the sector calls for direct links with natural resource management. Apart from providing a sustainable model for the cultivation of native food and medicine, the Savannah Enrichment model developed by NR TAFE and addressed in this training program may have important contributions to the fields of ecosystem restoration, carbon farming and biodiversity enhancement.
We were thrilled with the active engagement of students in this course, and look forward to further opportunities in this space.
Photo credit: David Handcock