This is the third year in which we celebrate the scientific field of ecology and the movements made towards protecting the ecosystems of the Otways. Central to this exhibit is the connection between the Otways and people. There are many ways we take agency over the land. We draw this country, we paint this country, we study this country, and we care for this country.
The Otways are an incredibly special place. The vast oceans and dense forests are still filled with rare native species, many of which have been lost from other places. Some would call this country wild, But what does ‘wild’ mean in this context?
‘Wild’ for many means ‘without human interference’. Yet, this is a complex notion in a time where species introduced by humans hunt native species into extinction if we do not apply careful land management, and where the impacts of the changing climate are reaching all parts of the globe.
We are not apart from the wild; we are a part of it.
Caring for country is not new. Indigenous peoples have been managing this land for tens of thousands of years. Today, caring for the Otways extends from implementing backyard wildlife corridors to replanting efforts, conservation management, to ecotourism, and scientific research. Indigenous knowledge is as important now as always to inform these activities.
“The Otways community plays a vital role in caring for the ecosystems of the Otways and people contribute in all sorts of ways. Because the Otways landscape is such a patchwork of public and private land the community are important custodians — with a direct responsibility for caring for vast areas of habitat.”
There are many ways we take agency over the land. We draw this country, we paint this country, we study this country, and we care for this country. Central to this exhibit is the connection between the Otways and people.