Noongar knowledge meets science in speaker series

Professor Stephen Hopper and Noongar elder Lynette Knapp.

Eminent plant biologist Professor Stephen Hopper took to the stage in the most recent Great Southern Speaker Series presentation. Professor Hopper honoured Noongar environmental knowledge as he outlined the developing OCBIL theory, which is gaining increased attention in the scientific world.

OCBIL refers to old, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes, exemplified in the Great Southern by granite outcrops and the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges but also found in other parts of the world. Professor Hopper’s work has identified special characteristics of plant communities in these landscapes, requiring particular care to maintain biodiversity.

His work intersects with Noongar cultural knowledge of plant communities across the landscape. Professor Hopper honoured Noongar elder Lynette Knapp as a valuable source in the work.

The Speaker Series event, held at the Albany Entertainment Centre in September, concluded with UWA Vice Chancellor (Education) David Sadler announcing the launch of the UN Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development. The centre will advocate, raise awareness, deliver training and increase access to education that is focused on sustainable development.

Professor Stephen Hopper with presentation.

Photos: Professor Hopper at the Great Southern Speaker Series with Noongar elder Lynette Knapp (top) and delivering the presentation (bottom).

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