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Salinity and innovation

Salinity and innovation

Threats posed by salinity to agricultural production and urban infrastructure demand innovative responses. Scientists, artists, farmers, educators and other people across the Wagga Wagga region have found creative ways to counter salinisation. Innovative responses to salinity reveal dynamic and hopeful patterns of interaction between land and people.

People, salinity and innovation

People shape places. How we see and talk about land influences how we engage with it. Problems like salinity have been exacerbated by the ecological changes made across the Wagga Wagga region since settlement in the 19th century. Careful and innovative responses by people to the phenomenon of salinisation reveal shifting understandings and perceptions of land.

Mat Crosbie
Photo: Naomi Zouwer  

Mat Crosbie's interest in the potential of native grasses to reduce the impacts of salinity led him to develop a specialist harvester for native grass seed.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Native grass seed harvester

Jim Phillips
Photo: Naomi Zouwer  

Jim Phillips came out of retirement as a soil conservation officer to teach people in the community about salinity.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Salinity education display

Rosie Smith
Photo: George Main      

Rosie Smith is building a native seed bank. Local native seeds are in strong demand as people plant them as a way of countering problems like salinity.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Arcadia |  Native plant seed bank |  Graham Strong

Graham Strong
Photo courtesy: Graham

Salinity outbreaks near their farm have led Graham Strong and his family to think and farm differently.

Related Pass the Salt stories: DancePlant t-shirt |  Arcadia |  Rosie Smith

Places, salinity and innovation

Places tell stories. The patterns and particularities encountered in places reveal entangled histories of land, humans and other species. Crumbling brick walls, salinity scalds, gardens of Indigenous plants, and signs explaining salinisation speak of the various and shifting ways people have imagined and engaged with land across the Wagga Wagga district.

Photo: Naomi Zouwer    

At ErinEarth, Sisters from the Mt Erin convent are exploring how to live in a more sustainable way.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Sister Carmel Wallis

Hardy Avenue streetscaping
Photo: Naomi Zouwer    

In Hardy Avenue, Wagga Wagga Council and Landcare groups developed an alternative style of streetscape to demonstrate ways of addressing salinity.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group

Photo: George Main       

At Arcadia, the Strong family have developed innovative approaches to living with salinity. They share their ideas and knowledge through regular field days on the property.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Graham Strong | Rosie Smith | DancePlant t-shirt | Native plant seed bank

Objects, salinity and innovation

Objects have histories. As salinity reshapes places and draws responses from residents of the Wagga Wagga district, a diverse range of objects record and tell these stories of dynamic interaction between land and people. On close inspection, objects reveal rich histories of changes brought by salinity, to places and to human perceptions and behaviour.

Native grass seed harvester
Photo: Naomi Zouwer    

'My father tells me that I am reinventing Ridley's stripper from 1850.' Mat Crosbie designed a grass seed harvester specifically for native grasses.

Related Pass the Salt stories:  Mat Crosbie

Salinity education display
Photo: Naomi Zouwer    

Jim Phillips and his son Andrew designed and built a theatrical display to demonstrate how salinisation works.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Jim Phillips

Bottle tree
Photo: Greg Summerell

Greg Summerell's bottle tree captures samples of water from different depths in the creek. This helps him to understand the movement of water and how salty it is.

Native seed bank
Photo: George Main       

Rosie Smith has been collecting native seeds for Landcare groups and farmers as they plant vast numbers of local native plants to try and counter the effects of salinity.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Rosie Smith | Graham Strong Arcadia

Danceplant t-shirt
Photo: George Serras    

This t-shirt came out of DancePlant events where people planted trees all day and danced all night.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Graham Strong