In this yarn about acknowledging Country and the spirit of place, I speak from my direct experience and from what I have witnessed.
A common reality (yet not always) is the uncertainty among people about how to publicly/formally speak an acknowledgment (to Country) and the uncertainty as to weather they have the right to do so, or if it is more respectful to engage an Indigenous/aboriginal/descendant of the first peoples to do an acknowledgement.
This is a personal sharing from the heart, without script… simply reflecting, recounting and listening in the moment to the environment if which I am in and sharing with good feeling.
Hopefully it inspires people to trust themselves and to also speak from a felt place within when the opportunity arises to do so regarding acknowledging Country, may it also inspire a follow through regarding how we live and interact with the natural world and one another.
Whilst on my Journey throughout Australia travelling with Spirit (my trusty vehicle) I catch up with Dya Singh for a yarn along the Nullabor Plain in the small community of Yalata.
The land here is sparse, yet rich with feeling and life. We yarn about connection and the Nature of knowing. Through the conversation we learn and share together and gain awareness and understanding, much nicer than assumptions based on misunderstanding.
Quietly by a fire, under a star lit sky, with full awareness of being visitors in the lands of Original peoples. And with awareness that the Spirit of place was very well aware of us also! Yalata is located 200 kilometres (120 mi) west of Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight in South Australia.
Knowing In Nature had the pleasure of spending time with Sapphire and learning through the lens of Mycology.
As we spoke off camera, I felt inspired by how Sapphires lived experience combined with learnt knowledge, equate to awareness of the intricate systems held within Nature and the importance of our relationships within this…
Sapphire’s passion is conserving Earth’s biodiversity, particularly the macro fungi and mosses, she has a conservation doctorate from the University of Tasmania. She first became interested in land management whilst farming in Africa in her gap year when she worked on several farms and worked with game (wildlife), coffee, tobacco, vegetables, dairy and helped with communal land education.
She is active in creating fungal educational games and identification materials, and works part-time for Fungimap*, Australia’s National Fungi organisation. Having lived in four states, and travelled extensively across Australia’s varied landscapes, she has been connected with several enthusiastic community groups over the years. Together, they have worked towards raising public awareness of local fungi species and towards highlighting the critical roles they play in our environment.
Sapphire particularly enjoys getting out into the bush as often as she can to discover new fungal treasures. To learn more about the work Sapphire is involved with in educating about the important roles fungi play in healthy ecosystems please visit:
A big thank you to all those out there in the field caring for Country, for putting the effort in to help Humans better understand how to Care and work with Nature, rather than against it!
Rachel Shields Knowing In Nature 2021
Sitting by an Elder Boab Tree
in Central Queensland A place to to stop a while and consider, the knowing of a tree… What each leaf held at the tips of each branch, offer as life. To listen, to breathe deep and respect the necessity of our interdependence on Trees as a life giving force, as a living presence and an element of our tapestry here on Earth…
This is a moment of acknowledgment and respect to the Tree’s Sharing the Song together.
I caught up with Campbell the Swagman in Maldan Victoria, after wondering where he might be holding up due to Covid.
I finally tracked him down to find him safe and well. He’s not one to stay in one place for too long, following the festival circuit doing his work in what he calls ‘Mateship’ – working to raise money for children in need medically. You could often find Campbell at Markets and Festival sharing poetry surrounded by his worldly possessions of a swag, a Billy can and a couple of little bags with odds essentials. For those who have wondered where the old fella had got to, well…. here he is!
To help Campbell continue his work, be sure to visit his bandcamp site and listen to his poetry and feel free to purchase as a download!
Sharing in conversation with everyday people in nature
Knowing In Nature is joined by Sandra Morales in a beautiful natural landscape in New South Wales.
We share in conversation behind a flowing waterfall, in this video its about the listening… we are not the focal point for the viewer. You will not only hear what we are speaking about, yet also the conversation of the water itself, as it continually flows beside us.
In the conversation we discuss about who we are at the deeper part of our being, the dimension that is deeper than our personal history, than our conditioned personality, although that is part of the path we follow to arrive there. The more we listen the less we need to say….
If you could hear the Natural world around you speak what do you feel it would be expressing?
Sandra Morales from Heart Dancers and Rachel Shields of Knowing In Nature use movement as a means to share an unspoken expression, one of connection within life.
Moving with Nature, in Nature….. Listening and responding… As Humans we are merely an element of a biodiverse tapestry, a biocultural tapestry, interconnected and dependent upon one another for balance.
We acknowledge and pay our respects to the first people and the spirit of place.
Into the Garden is a song about Relating, about connecting.
Both my parents have past now, yet they were the initial contributors who helped me build the foundations for relating, both to myself, to others and the world around me.
My mother had a gift for seeing humans as humans, without labels or status, she treated everyone with a special kind of respect, always ready to have a laugh and lend a hand of support and most of all, she could always see my heart and reminded me to simply be myself no matter what.
My father was old school, strong in his ways, strict about responsibility and doing the right thing, but he had a softness that held deep wisdom and was there if you really needed to talk.
Between the two, I learnt much, I pay my respects to all that they gave and carry the best of them in my heart and especially thank them, for giving me a life that was in the real world, in nature…
In a world whose tapestry is built upon relationship and balance.
Indigenous and Western Science with Dr. Peta-Marie Standley
Dr. Peta-Marie Standley is the training services and research manager at Firesticks Alliance. She has worked alongside Traditional Owners on Country for the past two decades in assisting mainstream Western systems of knowledge in being able to understand and value the extensive depth of Indigenous Science held within the First People and the Lands Ecological systems.
Peta shares her insights and feelings with Rachel Shields from Knowing In Nature at Hypipamee National Park in Far North Queensland, in the lands of the Jirrbal and Ngadjon peoples. The area is a home to lush old growth rainforest, wet sclerophyll woodlands, unique wildlife and a large crater that is a volcanic pipe formed by a massive explosion of subterranean gas. A platform allows a spectacular view into the crater 58 meters above the lake which has formed below. The lake is about 82 meters deep.
Filmed by the waters where the Barron River begins its journey in the Atherton Tablelands all the way down the mountains to the ocean on the coast in Cairns.
Peta Standley is an amazingly persistent human who has managed to support bridging sciences for the greater good!
To learn more about the work Peta does visit: www.firesticks.org.au
you can also watch an interview here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2016-09-05/cape-york-nrms-peta-standley-on-traditional-fire-knowledge-role/7816038?nw=0
Rainbow Child – Yuluwurri Gaayli
An Indigenous Bilingual Dreaming Story about how the Rainbow Child – Yuluwurri Gaayli came into being. Recorded for a project called “Green Please For the Kids”.
The story is shared here in both the English and Gamilaraay Language. An original story created by Rachel Shields – Nainiouman Coya Coya, a descendant of the First Peoples, the Wailwaan and Gamilaraay people in the continent known as Australia.
Filmed sitting by beautiful flowing waters where The Yidi Bama have lived in relation to the spirit of the land and life for thousands of years.
The Land is alive and the Spirit still exists here, as do the descendants of the First peoples.
Thank you to Ky Allan for your assistance with filming and preparing this video ready to share with all.
Johannes Selhofer Music as Therapy
Knowing In Nature is joined by Johannes Selhofer, a musician living in Cairns who sees music as therapy and a medium that offers an opportunity for Authenticity and transformation.
Filmed in the beautiful rainforests within Djabugai Country at Stoney’s Creek. A fusion of conversational and musical sharing accompanied by the gentle and ever present song of Nature!
If you would like more information about Cymatic Sound Therapy contact Johannes Selhofer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel welcome to share!
A protest song that shines a light on Australia’s recent bushfire crisis and Nainiouman’s frustration with the mismanagement of country and responses from politicians.
At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, Fires raged throughout parts of Australia. The impact both on human life, animal life, insect life has been devastating!
Emotions were felt by all, no matter your status in society. The impact has effected all in some way or another.
During this time I felt deep concern for all the animals that could not escape the fires in time. I made myself watch the news and social media to keep up to date with what was happening, in my local area I was a new member of our rural fire brigade, yet not able to go out and assist as I hadn’t finished part of my training yet… This was a very emotional time for all.
The song Dominion was my release, my way of getting it all out of my system.