AS part of a project led by Greening Australia in the Great Southern, the Mt Barker Noongar Rangers have been collecting native seeds to revegetate land that has been previously cleared.
Since February 2021 the rangers have undertaken on-the-job training in seed picking and other conservation and land management work over multiple properties around the Mt Barker and Upper Kent catchment area.
A team of 10 people had been employed on the project by Greening Australia's two implementation partners - Impact Services and Gondwana Link Ltd, led by contractor Blair Darvill of Human Nature.
The team has been actively picking seed on departmental properties in the Upper Kent catchment, constructed a seed drying tunnel, and has been processing and cleaning seed.
The seeds will be used to revegetate areas that are earmarked for restoration to increase habitat values for native fauna.
The team is also planting about 25,000 seedlings of key species, in particular species that are important food sources for the endangered Carnaby's black cockatoo.
Greening Australia program specialist Barry Heydenrych said these projects were resounding success stories.
"They are literally sowing the seeds for ongoing employment and healing-country enterprises in the restoration economy, as well as supporting regional communities and making a positive impact on the local environment," Mr Heydenrych said.
The rangers also assisted other groups with works to gain experiences, such as installing nesting boxes with Green Skills at their recently acquired Tootanellup site, a key conservation property in the Upper Kent area.
To complement their onground experiences, the team also undertook studies with the Great Southern TAFE in seed picking and plant identification, first-aid training, safety and other units towards a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management.
The teams have completed the seed collection phase and are going into the revegetation phase, with planting and seeding expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Greening Australia will continue to monitor the sites to assess any adaptive management that may be required in the future.
Noongar ranger Chris Winmar said the project gave the rangers opportunities to manage the country and qualifications that would underline the pivotal role of local Aboriginal communities in the growing restoration sector.
"It's great to connect with the land while learning new skills and while doing something that helps the environment," Mr Winmar said.
"We really hope that these sorts of projects will continue to be funded into the future so we can continue to be involved."