I'm also working on a paper re birdwatching tourism and communities.
However, my approach is minimalist, for people like my semi-traditional
relatives who are nervous of tour operators and strangers in general and
worried about dealing with bureaucracies. My approach was built in part on
my experience training Jawoyn guides for Nitmiluk Gorge, the Baby Dreaming
project we began in Arnhem Land, and decades working as a
birdwatching/natural history guide, often with my relatives.
My female relatives had particular concerns as well that had been
exacerbated by their men's experience of tourism, and also comments from the
Mirrar of Kakadu who'd had serious problems with tourism. Yvonnne Margarula,
my great grand-daughter and a senior custodian in Kakadu, wrote an article
for our newsletter, on this topic.
We aimed for specific markets that would "fit" my relatives rather than the
other way round, mainly older American couples and students. We didn't
target hard core male birders- sometimes they have characteristics that
don't go down well with my relatives. Likewise our training targeted
families rather than individuals. Couples, as my research indicates, have
broader interests than individuals, as do international birders, even
hardcore ones. For instance, they are generally interested in other
wildlife as well. So perhaps you should consider broadening your target
Another point is that first steps are really important. Contracted to teach
the Jawoyn about birds and ecology, I discovered they were too shy to talk
to strangers. So a first priority was to tackle that issue. I also built
upon existing skills, values and knowledge. Les Hiddens, the Bush Tucker
man, who also worked on the program, apparently assumed his students were
ignorant. Elders told me he was the "ignorant" one, and they didn't want
On Baby Dreaming the other elders and I were also careful about not building
up expectations. I'd seen what happened to the Jawoyn. After running a
high profile program, the government pulled the plug leaving several of
those trainee rangers without work. Some went off the rails completely;
several turned to alcohol, and at least one ended up in jail and another
This was also my fear for a recent prominent program to train birding
guides in Kakadu, which according to my contacts, failed and has now ceased.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 3460 NT 0832, AUSTRALIA
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Mobile: 04 386 50 835
Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
Interpreter/transcriber, Lonely Planet Guide to Aboriginal Australia
For American birders -
For UK and other birders
For copies of Birds of Australia¹s Top End or Quiet Snake Dreaming, visit
on 9/4/10 10:17 PM, bob gosford at wrote:
> Dear all,
> Please see the message from Herbert of Bird Uganda Safaris re Bird Guide
> training as a means for local empowerment, economic development and
> employment generation.
> I've posted a reply to Herbert with regard to a paper I'm working on for the
> 33rd Society of Ethnobiology Confernence on Victoria island, BC, Canada
> early next month.
> If you have any comments about Herbert's call for (East African) Bird Field
> Guides or your secondhand binoculars please send a reply to him at Birdchat
> or via me.
> If you have thoughts, contributions or comments about my abstract below
> please forward them.
> Cheers, best and I look forward to your thoughts.
> Bob Gosford
> Alice Springs
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: bob gosford <>
> Date: 9 April 2010 21:36
> Subject: Re: [BIRDCHAT] Guide training in this part of the world
> To: Bird Uganda Safaris <>,
> Dear Herbert,
> We haven't met since the PAOC a year or so ago...I've been following your
> posts here and elsewhere.
> This call is great timing - early next month I'm presenting a paper at the
> upcoming Society of Ethnobiology conference as part of session titled:
> in review, prospect and perspective
> My paper abstract is as follows: Birds, people and Money: Can local people
> make a living from culturally-based bird tourism?
> Gosford, Robert - Ethnoornithology Research & Study Group
> In this paper I will examine the potential for culturally-based bird tourism
> to provide opportunities for employment and economic development for local
> groups and people.
> Birding tourism is widely regarded as a lucrative sub-set of the broader
> tourism market, with a variety of services provided by a wide range of local
> and international suppliers. Those services range from tours where birds are
> included in a broader, general product to dedicated birding-only tours.
> I will examine and compare recent proposals in Australia and several
> countries in eastern Africa that have sought to develop economic and
> employment opportunities for local people to enter the birding tourism
> market by developing and offering birding tourism products that are
> distinguished by the inclusion of local cultural knowledge of birds into
> products offered to potential clients.
> Issues that will be considered include local training requirements,
> marketing, issues related to access to land and the involvement of national
> peak bodies and organizations, government assistance and the potential
> benefits and risks involved in culturally-based birding tourism.
> END abstract
> I don't have any local Field Guides or spare bins that I can send - I'm off
> to do two weeks with local Rangers on Aboriginal land from Monday next and
> will take all the bins I have out there.
> I'll re-post your call onto the Birding-Aus webgroup and see if that gets
> any response.
> I'd love to hear more from you about the training you are about to do and of
> course of your thoughts on this matter generally and any information you
> might have about this important issue.
> If you (or anyone on Birdchat) have any resources that might be relevant to
> my talk please feel free to forward them to me.
> Cheers, thanks and I look forward to speaking to you again soon,
> Bob Gosford
> Alice Springs
> On 9 April 2010 20:24, Bird Uganda Safaris <> wrote:
>> Dear All,
>> The only way for the communities to understand the values of
>> ecotourism is to directly benefit from the revenue collected from
>> tourists. This month Iam off again to train the communities around
>> Bwindi National Park in Birding and Biodiversity conservation. As a
>> second alternative from the Mountain Gorillas, this region tops other
>> birding sites in Africa but with less bird guides.
>> The communities around this area have been looking for funds to use in
>> organising the training, but in vain. I have decided to go down there
>> and give them an introduction course to bird watching. We begin on
>> 23rd April to 31, 2010.
>> Any one willing to send in a field guide book, or a pair of binoculars
>> you are welcome. I gues you know how challenging in can be to train
>> some to be a bird guide, without binoculars or field guide books.
>> Thank you all for your support. .
>> Executive Director
>> Bird Uganda Safaris Ltd
>> 2nd Floor
>> Jos House, Plot 55B,
>> Opp. Fish Factory
>> Telephone +256 312289048
>> Fax +256 (0)414222737
>> Cellphone +256(0)772518290/ 777912938
>> web www.birduganda.com
>> East African Journeys
>> BirdChat Guidelines: http://www.ksu.edu/audubon/chatguidelines.html
>> Archives: http://listserv.arizona.edu/archives/birdchat.html
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