Batchelor Institute » Land management workshop hits the mark at Darwin conference
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Date:December 20, 2022

Land management workshop hits the mark at Darwin conference

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Lecturer Jaemie Page presents during the workshop (left) and Crocodile Island Rangers and Larrakia Rangers discuss ideas (right) at the Territory NRM Conference in Darwin in November 2022.

A ranger coordinators’ workshop was among the many highlights of the Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) Conference held on 22–24 November 2022 in Darwin.

The conference brought together community groups, First Nations organisations, government, and industry groups from across the Northern Territory. TNRM is a membership-based organisation that works with a range of stakeholders to ensure sustainable land and resource management in the NT, and holds the annual event to recognise and showcase this important work.

On the first afternoon of the three-day conference, Batchelor Institute lecturer Jaemie Page, along with TNRM’s Rachael Thurlow, facilitated a workshop titled Ranger coordinators: Roles, challenges, opportunities, past, present and future. Mr Page has been training, mentoring, working and learning with rangers and other land managers for more than 20 years across the Top End, while Ms Thurlow is part of TNRM’s Kakadu and West Arnhem project team.

As a key player in conservation and ecosystem management training, Batchelor Institute was proud to be a sponsor of the overall event. The Institute currently offers Certificate II (AHC21020), Certificate III (AHC31421), and Certificate IV (AHC40920) in Conservation and Ecosystem Management—catering to new rangers, experienced rangers working toward team leader positions, and those aiming to progress to group coordinator roles.

Indigenous ranger programs provide many benefits, from addressing wide-reaching environmental issues, contributing to the maintenance of cultural knowledge and protection of important sites, and supporting the health and wellbeing of community members. Such programs also give rise to role models for other young people considering a future pathway in conservation or environment.

Senior rangers and ranger coordinators gathered during the workshop to share knowledge and experience relating to their roles, as well as the challenges of managing ranger teams and ways to support the ranger network. The discussions highlighted the importance of rangers and community developing and communicating a shared vision for overcoming day-to-day challenges.

Participants shared tips and tricks with one another, and talked about the skills needed to take on the role of ranger coordinator in their respective areas.

The productive discussions explored the origins and development of ranger teams over the decades, from humble community groups with little funding to the impressive industry of today. This growth has seen rapidly changing roles and responsibilities for ranger coordinators, as well as the need to balance community expectations and ranger support with funding and reporting commitments.

Importantly, the workshop recognised how this growth has helped broader society understand the value of and need for Indigenous land management in looking after Australian landscapes.

It also raised many ideas to be further explored in future, from networking, collaboration and stakeholder engagement, to helping to upskill fellow staff in the ranger coordinators’ teams.