Rangers engaging community and young people

Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers play an important role in their local communities through modelling leadership, learning and cultural connection, and assisting with inter-generational knowledge sharing.

Engaging with community

Rangers work closely with their Elders in planning and caring for Country and engage with their communities and visitors through ceremonies, events, and activities to share knowledge and understanding about caring for Country.

View larger image Photo of Bunya ranger sharing their knowledge about culture and country. Enlarge image
Bunya rangers share their knowledge about culture and country.
Channel 10
View larger image Photo of two Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji rangers use a remote control to fly a drone to monitor crocodile locations. Enlarge image
Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji rangers fly drones to monitor crocodile locations.
Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji PPBC Aboriginal Corporation
View larger image Photo of Lake Eyre Basin ranger explaining brochure to a volunteer in the Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton. Enlarge image
Lake Eyre Basin ranger shows brochure to a volunteer in the Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton.
Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation.

Sharing traditional knowledge

Bunya Peoples’ Rangers help their community, and other First Nations rangers and communities, to reconnect with culture and Country. They also share their knowledge to help visitors learn about First Nations culture and heritage.

Educating the community

Ranger groups play an important role in educating their communities. Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji (GMY) rangers use drones to monitor the presence and behaviour of crocodiles in their area. They keep their community informed and aware about crocodile safety through social media, community events and school visits.

Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) rangers and Indjalandji-Dhidhanu (IDAC) rangers manage the impacts of visitors on Country through engagement and education. They help visitors understand how to avoid spreading invasive species (PDF, 3.9 MB) when fishing in the Channel Country, Lake Eyre Basin (Kati Thanda).

Junior rangers
Junior rangers learn on Country with Land and Sea Rangers.

Engaging with young people

Many ranger groups deliver youth engagement programs to teach young people in their communities about the importance of caring for Country.

These programs are an important way of transferring traditional knowledge and First Nations perspectives and understandings to the younger generation.

By engaging with young people rangers become important role models and young people are encouraged to remain connected to Country.

Junior Ranger programs

For primary school students, ranger groups may offer Junior Ranger programs comprising a series of connected learning activities, held both in the classroom and on Country. Rangers may work closely with the school to plan and deliver the activities, which are linked to the Australian curriculum.

Butchulla rangers deliver a successful Junior Ranger program to Urangan Point State School that shares their knowledge about Country, culture and language with the younger generation.

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Pathways to a successful future

Providing an insight into the future world of work is one way we prepare students for life beyond school.

Today we are visiting Urangan Point State School, where Year 6 students participate in the Butchulla Junior Ranger program, building cultural understanding and connection to place and country.

This provides a window into the important work of the local land and sea rangers in supporting marine diversity and biosecurity, especially on nearby K'gari.

So our school's strategic approach to learning sits around the fact that we really want to make sure that our kids are familiar with their local area, so we run a highly structured program at school with everything that we do.

But what we also want is to make sure that our kids know their local area, given the fact that a lot of our kids are born and raised in Hervey Bay, that they attend Urangan State High, which is not far from where we are. So we really want to make sure that our kids are familiar with what's around them and that they can be, you know, contributing to our community.

The Junior Rangers program has been exceptional for that because what it does is it's allowed the kids to go visit places like Dayman Park, like the Botanical Gardens and actually see that those areas have some historical significance.

There's some really specific, clear curriculum links within the Junior Ranger program for the students learning experiences and leading into career pathways. We see aspects there to the Australian Curriculum through the Science strand and the English, as well as the Arts with the Science, because the topics that they cover are to do with marine turtles, marine debris, biosecurity on K'gari, on Fraser Island.

So to the Butchulla community, it's very important, this program, because it is one of our Butchulla laws, is if you have plenty you must share and that includes knowledge.

And through this program, we share that knowledge and the children get to understand more about our culture, and they develop a deeper understanding of cultural environmental values in their local area.

It's been really a positive program within Urangan Point, being able to work with the school in planning prior to the program beginning, and embedding a lot of activities into the school curriculum.

And they're able to continue that journey when we're not here and still learn about the values within the classroom.

Another important aspect of the Butchulla Junior Ranger program is the involvement of Elders within the program and that promotion of intergenerational learning.

The program itself has been really, really beneficial because what it's done is it's brought outside agencies into our school as well, and it's also influenced the way that our teachers are delivering curriculum.

Last year we had the Rural Fire Brigade came out and they talked to the kids about current fire practices. The kids then spoke to the junior rangers who showed traditional fire practices and then how both of those areas of the community can work together to manage fire and take care of the land.

I think that's definitely been a massive impact on our teachers to be able to start to incorporate more of the cross-curricular priority with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and then also to learn from local Indigenous people in our community. And then they can link that back to any specific topic or lesson that they're doing throughout the week.

And it really is a good tool then, to activate the kids' prior knowledge as to what the Rangers were talking about.

It seems to be that the perception is that rangering work is a male dominated field, and I think for the children to see some of us female rangers coming in here and taking a leading role ,that it's a career path that they can look at that they didn't think was possible.

During last year's program, we had a group of Skilling Queenslanders for Work trainees that also came along and helped us out in delivering the program, and they were studying Conservation Land Management Certificate I.

A lot of the children that were here have seen them as older role models; for them to be able to see them and see that they were studying and working towards becoming a ranger. They could go and do further studies in that conservation land management to move towards that goal.

So I think it was really positive for them young trainees to be here and give that positive outlook for the children.

As a leadership team, the program's been really beneficial because it's shown us that by engaging these kids in their local area and giving them some relevance and showing them about their context, that we have better outcomes from for those students.

What it also did was when we discovered the Junior Rangers program and we brought the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation into our school, it really gave our kids an outlet and better understanding of their local area. It gave them connectedness to the world around them, and we saw a marked level of engagement with our kids.

And then what our teachers have done is then taken that learning from the junior rangers program and been able to contextualise that into the classroom. So by teachers using more applicable, real world experiences for our kids, we're then seeing an improvement in engagement not only through the Junior Ranger program, but also in the classroom itself.

By creating learning experiences that build students' career knowledge and skills for the future we are preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of their future world.

When we make connections between classroom, context and culture, it opens the door to authentic, developmentally-appropriate career learning and help students to consider future possibilities.

Secondary students

For older students, rangers may deliver educational presentations and activities, in the classroom or on Country, that provide practical learning linked with specific curriculum areas, such as science, biology or geography.

View larger image Photo of Conservation and Land Management students participating in a cultural burn with Bunya Peoples’ Aboriginal Rangers on Western Wakka Wakka country. Enlarge image
Conservation and Land Management students participate in a cultural burn with Bunya Peoples’ Aboriginal Rangers on Western Wakka Wakka country.
Bunya Peoples Aboriginal Corporation.

Some ranger groups also offer work experience programs and support school-based traineeships for secondary students.

Several ranger groups such as Balnggarrawarra (Melsonby) rangers and Bunya Peoples rangers partner with secondary schools and registered training organisations to deliver vocational education and training qualifications, such as Certificate II in Conservation and Ecosystem Management.

Young people out of school

Some ranger groups work with young people who have left school, including those who are not otherwise engaged in work or training.

These young people may participate as volunteers in ranger-led activities, such as beach clean-ups and tree planting, or assist with organising community events such as NAIDOC Week.

Through these varied activities, young people learn from their ranger role models and mentors about caring for Country, both in theory and in practice.

Junior ranger and youth engagement image gallery