AbCF Community Development Officer visits Caritas Australia in Sydney

Whilst I was in Sydney I was asked to visit the Caritas Australia office to give a brief and informal presentation on the work that Caritas has been working on with the Aboriginal Carbon Fund.

It wasn’t a huge group but I feel that only added to the overall feeling of acceptance and understanding in the room.

AbCF Community Development Officer Lauren Bowyer meeting with Carl, Lisa and Patrice at the Caritas Australia Sydney office.

AbCF Community Development Officer Lauren Bowyer meeting with Carl, Lisa and Patrice at the Caritas Australia Sydney office.

I was asked to speak about myself and what lead me to joining the AbCF team, I spoke about my connection to country and my unwavering belief in my culture.

As with all AbCF presentations that I have been a part of or facilitated, you can’t help but notice a look of confusion on the faces of those in the room in the beginning, however after a few moments into the presentation you can almost pinpoint the moment when the penny drops and people understand and support the important and ground breaking work we are doing here at the Aboriginal Carbon Fund and in this instance it allowed the wider group of Caritas Australia staff to further understand the importance of the work their fellow team mates Lisa and Carl have been working on and why it has been so important to have them on board.

I feel I had made a positive impression on the staff at Caritas and look forward to meeting up with some of them in December when the AbCF team travel down for the Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney.

A huge thanks to Carl and Lisa for all of their tireless efforts to ensure the work that we do is of the upmost quality, you have both been an amazing asset to have on board.


Media & Marketing Trip: Essential Media Sydney

Recently I had the pleasure of being in Sydney to work with the staff at Essential Media on the marketing and media program for the Aboriginal Carbon Fund (AbCF).

No matter how we look at it, social media is the key to getting your story out to your followers in a quick and effortless manner, so keep an eye out for more stories about the AbCF, the work of the staff and associates and the good news stories from projects that are already running.

AbCF Community Development Officer Lauren (middle seated) with (from left to right) Kayla, Law & Monique from Essential Media Sydney.

AbCF Community Development Officer Lauren (middle seated) with (from left to right) Kayla, Law & Monique from Essential Media Sydney.

As such, I have been asked by the team at Essential Media to write an “Opinion Piece” on the growing number of Indigenous female rangers within the Cape York region and the benefits this has had on their communities as well as their families.

After working with the Essential Media team for three days we came up with a content calendar that will assist the AbCF team to make changes to the way it conducts business through media and social media channels. I have also started work with professional web designers to discuss the look, feel and technical issues involved in redesigning the AbCF website to suit the business moving forward.

By being able to work alongside the Essential Media team we got the ball rolling on media releases and social media content as well as discussing the finer details of organising a Corporate Social Responsibility tour to Cape York Peninsular in the new year.

Thank you to Pete, Monique, Kayla & Law at Essential Media for all your advice and guidance last week and I look forward to working with you all on future AbCF media and marketing projects.


Cape York Community visits kick off in the Cooktown Region

I was invited to return to my Grandfather’s country at Archer Point on the Annan River for a Traditional Owner and Junior Ranger camp. We know this country as Yuku-Baja-Muliku (about 30 mins south of Cooktown).

Whilst on country I participated in many traditional customs, had the pleasure of assisting to teach the Junior Rangers various traditional activities such as spear making, grass skirt making, diving for mussel & cooking traditional food.


At the camp I also had the opportunity to discuss Aboriginal Carbon Farming and the work that the Aboriginal Carbon Fund (AbCF) are doing on the Core-Benefits verification framework. This included the roll out of the expression of interest (EOI) to trial the training package developed by the Centre of Appropriate Technologies (CAT) in conjunction with the AbCF and Caritas Australia.

The whole idea of the Indigenous-to-Indigenous strategy and having the power to manage a project by the community is such an important and ground-breaking idea that I feel it is only going to bring positive life changing outcomes for those involved.

Due to sorry business, there weren’t as many people in attendance as had been planned, however for those that were able to attend I feel that the discussion about Aboriginal Carbon Farming and the Core-Benefits was positively received.

YBM Rangers making spears.jpg

One of the Aboriginal Ranger groups I spoke to have decided that they would like to discuss Carbon Farming further and hopefully set up a Carbon Farming project on their traditional estate. This group have also indicated they would like to submit an EOI to receive training for their Rangers to be a part of this great Indigenous-led initiative.

Whilst this was my first time discussing the work that we are doing at the AbCF, it really solidified for me the importance and the need for this long overdue ideology to come to fruition and I for one am very proud to be a part of this movement.


Aboriginal Carbon Fund invites Expressions of Interest for Carbon Farming Training course

Expressions of Interest (EOI)

There is an opportunity for an Aboriginal organisation involved in a savanna burning carbon project to trial the new carbon farming training course. A regionally based Aboriginal organisation that can service the carbon farming training requirements of rangers, Traditional Owners, Councils and Aboriginal organisations is a great benefit to our industry.

If interested please be in contact with Mark Bagley (CAT) or the Aboriginal Carbon Fund General Manager Rowan Foley on 0427 013 318


Caritas Australia invites Aboriginal Carbon Fund to New Zealand

I was invited to say “Kia ora” and participate in meetings of Caritas Partners near Wellington in Aotearoa (New Zealand). The visit was hosted by Caritas New Zealand and brought together a host of partners that provided updates on their specific projects and the work that has been undertaken with Caritas. 

Aboriginal Carbo

Aboriginal Carbo

The Aboriginal Carbon Fund (AbCF) has been in partnership with Caritas Australia for 6 years, initially supported by funding, the partnership now has developed into a strong working relationship where the First National Program is supporting the AbCF to develop a framework for identifying and measuring the Core-Benefits that result from Aboriginal communities undertaking carbon projects. These Core-Benefits may include outcomes that improve Aboriginal ranger skills, biodiversity outcomes, support for outstations in remote areas, benefits to community well-being for residents and/or supporting traditional ecological knowledge outcomes for younger generations.

During the trip, I had the opportunity to meet with Hikurangi Enterprises which is based in Rautoria north of Gisborne. They are undertaking social enterprise development projects that will assist local Maori land holders derive an income from their lands. These projects include planting Manuka trees for the production of Manuka honey which is found to have application in the medicinal field for a number of diseases and medical conditions. They are also investigating the distilling and marketing of essential oils from native trees. Importantly they are assisting land holders to investigate how they can earn money through encouraging the growth of native bush that can store carbon. There were some good discussions with Hikurangi Enterprises about the learning and developments in the Carbon industry by AbCF here in Australia. 

During the weekend of the 19th and 20th of August I attended a Hui (Maori assembly or meeting) that was hosted in a Marea (traditional meeting ground) in Otaki some 50 minutes north of Wellington. This was to be where Caritas NZ would gather their partners to discuss the good works that have been achieved over the past year. After being greeted by a powerful yet spine tingling traditional welcome a ‘Powhiri’, there was a warm greeting and some interesting discussions from all the partners on the good works that have been undertaken in NZ and the pacific. The presentation ranged from elders and youth justice programs, educational Maori emersion language and culture classes. There was a presentation on inter-generational healing classes undertaken in Australia and of course I presented on the work AbCF have been undertaking with Caritas support.


The trip was an amazing experience meeting the great people from Hikurangi Enterprises, from the Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust and Caritas New Zealand. I feel I’m forever indebted to the people I met who were so generous in the sharing of their culture and knowledge which was done so in a warm and sharing manner. Lastly a big thank you to Caritas Australia, particularly Carl O’Sullivan and Lisa McMurray for their support and for organising our participation in the workshop and cultural exchange. 


Aboriginal Carbon Fund contribute to the Queensland Carbon Farming Industry Summit - Brisbane August 2017

The Aboriginal Carbon Fund (AbCF) team made a positive contribution at the Queensland Carbon Farming Industry Summit in Brisbane on a number of levels.

Firstly, Barry Hunter co-chaired the Indigenous Carbon/ Savanna Burning forum and presented the outcomes back to the Summit. I believe it was the first time many industry people had the opportunity to hear  directly from a Traditional Owner about their own industry. Barry spoke informatively drawing on his experience over the last 25 years in land management and knowledge of Far North Queensland.

Aboriginal Carbon Fund Regional Manager Barry Hunter speaking at the Carbon Farming Industry Summit in Brisbane. (Photo: Lauren Bowyer)

Aboriginal Carbon Fund Regional Manager Barry Hunter speaking at the Carbon Farming Industry Summit in Brisbane. (Photo: Lauren Bowyer)

Secondly, the Aboriginal Carbon Farming Core-Benefits Verification Framework draft was released at the Summit, and workshopped the day before with Northern Territory and South Australia government delegates taking a keen interest.

The Indigenous-to-Indigenous strategy built into the Verification Framework is a concept whose time has come and will enable Aboriginal rangers and Traditional Owners to more fully steer their projects and industry on their country.

Barry co-chairing the Indigenous Carbon/Savanna Burning breakout session

Barry co-chairing the Indigenous Carbon/Savanna Burning breakout session

Thirdly, the concept of core-benefits being a main driver of carbon project rather than simply selling carbon credits is starting to make progress. The name change from ‘co-benefits’ to ‘core-benefits’ is reinforcing this concept in the carbon industry.  It was acknowledged the voluntary market for carbon credits with verified core-benefits is small but growing.

The concept of a ‘reef credit’ was presented by James Schultz from Green Collar, and this was expanded on by the concept of introducing a ‘Queensland Carbon Credit Unit’ by Rowan Foley. A QCCU is an ACCU + verified core-benefit from Queensland. By building on the existing Commonwealth system and adding a Queensland payment for eco-system service that can be measured, then it is envisaged sound investment in regional and rural Queensland can be enabled.

In the last session Rowan Foley congratulated the Queensland Government for hosting the summit, and reiterated the carbon industry development work being undertaken by the AbCF is attracting a keen interest from First Nations in British Colombia and throughout Canada. We can all be proud of our carbon farming industry in Australia collectively.

Media Release - Aboriginal Carbon Fund

Indigenous Australians and Canadians working together to reduce carbon and build communities

The Aboriginal Carbon Fund is proud to announce it has signed a formal Indigenous-to-Indigenous Agreement with the First Nations Energy and Mining Council in British Columbia, Canada, to share information on reducing carbon emissions and helping build communities. 

Rowan Foley, General Manager of the Aboriginal Carbon Fund, a national not-for-profit organisation that supports Traditional Owners to build wealth through the trade of carbon credits, said:

“Canada’s First Nations Energy and Mining Council is seeking to establish their own Indigenous Climate Fund modelled on our work in Australia.

“The Aboriginal Carbon Fund is encouraging corporate partners to offset their carbon footprint by buying carbon credits from Indigenous Australians, who are managing their land to reduce carbon, largely through early dry season savanna burning. An investment fund is being established to streamline the buying and selling of Aboriginal carbon credits. 

“We’re also working to train up more Indigenous rangers so they are qualified in carbon farming which will support the industry on Aboriginal lands.  

“Sustainable Indigenous land management, such as savannah burning, not only reduces carbon emissions but also builds communities by offering meaningful jobs for local Traditional Owners as rangers and an independent income.

“There are similarities between Indigenous land management programs in Queensland and in British Columbia so we have a lot to learn from each other in meeting our shared goals of supporting Aboriginal communities through jobs and enabling investment in the management of Aboriginal lands.

“Our Indigenous to Indigenous agreement also encourages our governments to work more closely together on how to support climate action and Indigenous employment,” Mr Foley said.

Mr Foley travelled to British Columbia to develop the agreement and to share knowledge with British Columbia’s First Nations Energy and Mining Council, which supports the development of climate, energy and mineral resources in ways that protect and sustain the environment forever while enhancing the social, cultural, economic and political well-being of First Nations in British Columbia.

Full agreement can be found at 

Contact – 0419 588 430

Indigenous to Indigenous Strategy - AbCF to British Columbia

A chance meeting at the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 with Shawn Burns, led to visiting Vancouver where I signed the Indigenous to Indigenous Climate Cooperation Agreement with the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) in British Columbia June 2017. 

Photo courtesy of Rowan Foley

Photo courtesy of Rowan Foley

It was great to meet with Dave Porter Chair of the FNEMC as well as the members of the civil society. The BC provincial elections had just been held and there was a hung Parliament. The centre-left New Democratic Party (NDP) has since taken office with support of the BC Greens. 

The First Nations are seeking to establish their own Indigenous Climate Fund modelled on the work of AbCF in Australia. This is a somewhat unforeseen and a positive step forward for Indigenous peoples, investment in Indigenous lands and addressing climate change. The AbCF model can be replicated, with minor changes, to serve the needs of local Indigenous people internationally. 

Photo courtesy of Rowan Foley

Photo courtesy of Rowan Foley

It feels like the idea is coming of age. The concept of directly investing in the management of Aboriginal lands and people whilst tackling climate change is now possible. Non-Indigenous people, corporations and government agencies can make a positive contribution through buying Aboriginal carbon credits in Australia and hopefully soon in Canada. 

Once the social, cultural, environmental and economic core benefits are verified through an Indigenous-to-Indigenous strategy, then the outcomes of the investment can be clearly identified. 

Photo courtesy of Rowan Foley.

Photo courtesy of Rowan Foley.

The Indigenous-to-Indigenous strategy is a community development strategy supported by a raft of well-established principles and tools. The tools are handed over to Aboriginal rangers to implement with the whitefellas staying in Canberra or Ottawa as the case may be. The next step may be either South America and/or North America depending on how Indigenous people want to be involved. 

Sometimes chance meetings are a form of karma or synchronicity at play.