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Learning how to protect our ancient heritage

[supplied by NIAA]

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Newly qualified Bawinanga Djelk Rangers, Grestina Wilson and Cedric Ankin. Image supplied

In October at a small gathering and BBQ in Maningrida, NT, an important transition occurred.

Grestina Wilson and Cedric Ankin, previously interns in the Bawinanga Djelk ranger Internship Program, graduated as fully certified rangers.

Grestina became a ranger because she wanted to follow in her Dad’s footsteps.

‘The best part of the job is going out on Country, doing pre burns, going out with LOC (Learning on Country), camping and looking for animals,’ she said.

‘I love going out bush with the ranger ladies and I enjoy working alongside the ranger men. I also enjoy doing our biosecurity checks and animal health reports.’

Julie Dennien, the Women’s Ranger Coordinator, said the ranger traineeship takes a year.

‘Over time, the intern is taught skills required as a ranger,’ Julie said.

‘Once the intern shows they are capable of performing tasks required they are usually ready. The Ranger Manager and Coordinators, and the LOC Coordinator discuss each intern’s progress and decide from there.’

The role of the Indigenous ranger is to preserve and protect Australia’s natural and cultural heritage, by combining traditional knowledge with conservation training to protect and manage land and sea County. The duties are many and varied, and crucial to the wellbeing of this ancient landscape.

‘The character strengths required for being a ranger are to be a team player, have a good work ethic and be willing to learn new skills and put them into practice,’ Julie said.

‘We are very happy with Grestina and her strong work ethics. She is a valued member of our team.’

Grestina said her goal is to be a ranger for as long as she can.

‘I have learnt a heap of new skills from LOC and Rangers. I have done different training that allows me to know how to work in the bush with rangers,’ she said.

‘I am very happy to get the chance to do LOC and now transition into a full-time ranger.’

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