Indigenous Seasonal Calendar Methodology

December 3rd, 2020

Indigenous seasonal calendars are co-created to enhance environmental decision-making.

CSIRO’s Indigenous seasonal calendar methodology enables the Indigenous-led co-creation of a high impact communication tool which supports cross-cultural engagement, inter-generational learning, and the weaving of multiple knowledge systems for more informed environmental decision-making.

CSIRO Indigenous seasonal calendars are high impact communication and engagement tools, underpinned by a highly-engaged co-design process. The co-developed methodology involves Indigenous-led documentation and collation of local ecological, hydrological and meteorological knowledge, through one-on-one and group discussions in community and out on Country, often while on hunting, gathering and fishing trips. This enables the intergenerational sharing and strengthening of Indigenous knowledge. The timing of visits to the communities and their surroundings is integral to the compilation of the seasonal calendar as discussion about ecological indicators is stimulated by seasonally linked environmental cues. This often necessitates repeat visits and proofing of calendar content over a period that spans at least the full cycle of the seasons.

The Calendars present as highly visual seasonal representation of Indigenous ecological knowledge revealing key phenological events, animal behaviour and hydrological and meteorological phenomena, which underpin an intimate understanding of the ecosystem, and which drives knowledgeable peoples’ land and sea management activities including hunting and harvesting activities. The calendars also show the relationship between key valued species and hydrological flows – critical for water planning and management.

The seasonal calendars have delivered multiple inter-related benefits by:

  • Answering to Elders interest to see their knowledge documented and compiled into forms that facilitate the intergenerational transfer of local ecological knowledge.
  • Creating a tool that assists policy makers and Traditional Owners to articulate and communicate across multiple knowledges, values and interests for resource management (e.g River Country/freshwater systems).
  • Providing an accessible and engaging way for the broader Australian community to engage with Indigenous knowledge systems, so that increased appreciation and respect for First Nations may result.

Discover more @ Indigenous seasonal calendars  or contact