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Seasonal Calendars: learning from Indigenous ecological knowledge

Posted in Models, Research by Jessica Bird on November 14th, 2012

Seasonal calendar from the Ngan’gi language group in the Northern Territory (TRaCK)

From the SBS Podcast Indigenous weather knowledge bridges gap by Naomi Selvaratnam

Indigenous communities across northern Australia have helped to develop seasonal calendars using their environmental knowledge. The calendars detail the changes in plant and animal life across the year, and can include as many as 13 seasons.

Darwin-based CSIRO researcher, Emma Woodward says the project highlights the importance of incorporating Indigenous knowledge into scientific research projects. She told Naomi Selvaratnam the value of indigenous knowledge is frequently underestimated by scientists.

The following comes from the CSIRO about the most recently released seasons calendar from the Gooniyandi language group in the Fitzroy Valley in the Kimberly.

The Mingayooroo – Manyi Waranggiri Yarrangi, Gooniyandi Seasons calendar was developed by key knowledge-holders of the Gooniyandi language group from the Fitzroy Valley in the Kimberley and CSIRO, as part of a Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge project on Indigenous socio-economic values and rivers flows in northern Australia.

The seasonal cycle recorded on the calendar follows 4 main seasons: Barranga (‘very hot weather time’); Yidirla (‘wet season time when the river runs’); Ngamari (‘female cold weather time’) and Girlinggoowa (‘male cold weather time’). Gooniyandi people closely follow meteorological events, including wind speed and direction, clouds and rain types, as each event is linked to different behaviours of animals. Gooniyandi people can therefore look to the weather to tell them when it is the best time for hunting and collecting different plants and animals.

The Gooniyandi Seasons calendar represents a wealth of Indigenous ecological knowledge. The development of the calendar was driven by a community desire to document seasonal-specific knowledge of the Margaret and Fitzroy Rivers in the Kimberley, including the environmental indicators that act as cues for bush tucker collection. The calendar also addresses community concern about the loss of traditional knowledge, as older people from the language group pass away and younger people are not being exposed to Indigenous ecological knowledge.

>>> You can listen to the podcast on SBS World News Radio and download the Gooniyandi seasons calendar from CSIRO.
>>> You can also access seasonal calendars for other Indigenous groups from TRaCK (Tropical Rivers and Coast Knowledge) research hub.

Citygarden, St Louis.

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on May 10th, 2010

Source: World Architects

Photo: Steve Hall / ©Hedrich Blessing

Citygarden employs sustainable technologies which include raingardens that collect stormwater from approximately 70% of the site, green roofs on both buildings, pervious paving, a largely native plant palette, regionally quarried stone, and suspended slab construction to give tree roots in terrace areas room to grow.

Citygarden is a new “urban oasis” in downtown St. Louis, on axis with that city’s popular Gateway Arch. A hybrid between a sculpture garden, botanic garden and city park, the design was spearheaded by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, with two buildings designed by local architects Studio / Durham Architects.

The design of Citygarden derives from the cultural and natural histories of St. Louis and its environs. Acknowledging its position in the heart of the Gateway Mall, a few blocks west of the Arch and the Mississippi River, Citygarden is structured as three precincts delineated by two walls. The northern precinct (or band) represents the high upland ground, the river bluffs. The middle band represents the low ground or floodplain. The southern band represents the cultivated river terraces. A series of outdoor rooms in the northern band provide shaded platforms for specific sculptures, while also providing for sitting, dining and prospects over the upper-level water basin to the rest of the sculpture garden. A 550 foot long arcing wall of Missouri limestone defines the edge between the urban groves of the “uplands” and the low ground of the grassy “floodplain” that occupies the middle band of the site. The third band of Citygarden runs along the southern tier, framed by Market Street on one side and the central “floodplain” on the other. The inner edge of the Market Street gardens is prescribed by 1100 linear feet of granite-topped meander wall, the second major site wall. This nearly continuous seat wall sinuously loops through the garden in evocation of the striking patterns of regional river systems.

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