The Nyangamarta Warrarn Aboriginal Corporation has engaged a part time development coordinator to assist in the establishment of a ranger program to manage Nyangamarta country in the Ramsar 80 Mile Beach area.
Funding from the WA State NRM Office via Rangelands NRM has enabled the engagement of Shireen Watson who is now on-board in this vital role.
Several organisations including BHP Billiton, the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife, Greening Australia, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), Many Rivers and Kullarri Regional Group are all contributing to the development of the ranger group.
As coordinator, Ms Watson will assist in bringing the various stakeholders together and provide a vital administrative and liaison role.
The rangers recently undertook their first trip on Country to undertake a field survey on the Kidson Track, which is in part of the area recognised as Nyangumarta determined land.
“Winter might not seem like the best time for camping, but for the fledgling Nyangumarta Ranger group, the Kimberley winter is when the work of caring for Country can really start,” Ms Watson said.
Nyangumarta country covers a wide range of ecosystems, from the 80 mile beach marine park in the west, to the desert sand dunes and waterholes of the eastern side of the area.
“It is a big and beautiful country, and we all enjoy being out there,” said ranger Nathan Hunter.
Ms Watson said the survey provided a fabulous training opportunity for the rangers, who normally live in the coastal community of Bidyadanga.
“They are very comfortable with the technology we are using to record field survey data, particularly on our recent Kidson Track trek,” she said.
“Caring for our traditional lands through ranger work is an important job, and one that is highly sought after in our community,” said ranger Lynette Wilridge. We are learning and passing on to our younger generation about how to care for the land.
“Capturing baseline data about the health of our country is important for helping determine the future direction of ranger work in the area,” said ranger Augustine Badal.
Aquinas Nardi and Vallerina Aspro are two young Nyangumarta who have recently joined the ranger training.
Ms Watson said though quietly spoken when in the company of outsiders, their willingness to learn and help at every turn was appreciated by the trainer and field survey assistants.
Some of the rangers have also completed Certificate 1 training units with Greening Australia at Bidyadanga Community Nursery area. The Kidson Track trip was the start of Certificate 2 training.
More information about the Nyangumarta Ranger program can be obtained from Grey Mackay at Rangelands NRM (Broome Office) email or telephone 08 9192 5212.
Image: Nyangumarta Ranger Aquinas Nardi working alongside botanist Vicki Long to collect Traditional Indigenous and Scientific knowledge about flora on Nyangumarta Country using a Panasonic Toughpad. (©YMAC)