Walaaybaa Rangers Program: A Year of Empowerment and Environmental Stewardship

Walaaybaa Rangers Program: A Year of Empowerment and Environmental Stewardship

In March 2023, the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council launched the Walaaybaa Rangers program. Since its inception, the program has significantly advanced environmental conservation, cultural ties, job prospects, and economic stability in the Tamworth community. Walaaybaa Rangers Program: A Year of Empowerment and Environmental Stewardship

Walaaybaa Rangers Program: A Year of Empowerment and Environmental Stewardship

The Walaaybaa Rangers program adopts a comprehensive approach to land management, blending traditional ecological wisdom with contemporary methods. This fusion of techniques has been a cornerstone of the program’s success, as highlighted by Walaaybaa Ranger Program Operations Manager, Terri Whitton.

“Since commencing operations last year, the Walaaybaa Ranger team has hit the ground running with a range of professional and skills development workshops, partnership initiatives, and youth mentoring events,” said Ms. Whitton. “Witnessing the sharing and practicing of cultural wisdom has been particularly impactful, for instance, when the team collaborated with the Local Land Services Rangers and the Gomeroi Cultural Academy to plant trees and help with site preparation to create a dance circle as part of a cultural knowledge-sharing day.”

The Rangers actively engage in conservation efforts using techniques such as controlled burning, ecological rehabilitation, and habitat improvement. These activities not only conserve and enhance the local environment but also promote a deeper connection to the land.

The program encourages all Aboriginal people to take on meaningful roles in land and water care, deepening their ties to Country while opening up career avenues and leadership prospects. Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO, Fiona Snape, emphasized that the Walaaybaa Ranger Program is an extension of the organization’s goal of creating self-reliance and autonomy within the Aboriginal community.

“By reducing dependence on government funding, we’re creating pathways to long-term success and impact,” said Ms. Snape.

Participation in the Walaaybaa Ranger Program offers access to training and skill-building activities, preparing Aboriginal community members for success in related domains. The program’s core mission includes preserving and sharing language and cultural knowledge while adhering to cultural protocols and practices. These efforts aim to maintain cultural integrity while supporting broader community sustainability goals.

The program operates on a fee-for-service model, striving for financial independence and reducing reliance on government funding. This approach ensures the program’s longevity and highlights its commitment to economic empowerment within the Aboriginal community.

The Walaaybaa Rangers program stands as a testament to the power of blending traditional knowledge with modern practices to achieve environmental and cultural sustainability. In its first year, it has not only made significant strides in conservation but also fostered a sense of pride and self-sufficiency within the Tamworth Aboriginal community.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/22-05-2024/11537/tamworths-walaaybaa-rangers-program-marks-one-year-of-success

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