High school rangers out on country
Fourteen students have been engaged in the three Rawa High School Ranger sessions in Term Four.
Rangers were proactive in leading the planning and execution of the program, showing pride in their role. In the first session, students were given a tour of the ranger station “lakehouse”, focusing on the maps that illustrate the different work rangers do. Punmu rangers spoke in language about each map including a helicopter mapping and fire scar map from 2016. They also discussed why rangers use PPE safety equipment to prevent them from getting sick or hurt.
Rangers and elders then headed to a nearby soak where ranger Neil Lane and ranger coordinator Daniel Johanson demonstrated how to use the chemical spray knapsack to clear buffel grass. Buffel grass is fast growing and a big problem on Martu country, out-competing bush foods and native plants as well as creating hot, fast burn fires. The high school rangers showed enthusiasm throughout the session, assisting with vehicle safety checks and taking responsibility as media personnel and logistics assistants.
The second field trip focused on the use of remote sensor cameras to monitor threatened species including mulyamiji (Great Desert Skink) and mankarr (Bilby). Students were introduced to the concept of threatened species, including a background of what monitoring work KJ teams have been doing and the tools, such as fire and cat hunting, available for the management of threatened species populations. Students were also given a demonstration of, and the opportunity to familiarise themselves with, the remote sensor cameras that are used in the field.
Students and rangers then travelled to known mulyamiji sites close to Punmu. Rangers showed the burrows and latrines used by the animals and helped them install a remote sensor camera. The process was repeated at a second site with the added bonus that a live mulyamiji was sighted as it run from one burrow to the other.
A third site was also visited and although no burrows were found, students conducted a fauna monitoring plot in the area giving the students their first opportunity to use CyberTracker. We hope to return in the new year to download the images and learn more about the mulyamiji story.
A huge thanks to Tunka (Chris Deslandes) for his help developing the program, and to the Punmu rangers. It is exciting to see young mob on country and rangers stepping up to lead and teach in language. We look forward to working with the Rawa school staff and Punmu students into 2017.