Birriliburu rangers tell their story at the national Ecological Society of Australia conference

on 08 Dec 2015 

Senior Traditional Owners and Birriliburu Rangers Rita Cutter and Lena Long attended the annual ESA conference last week in Adelaide. It was a big trip for them (a long way from home) but they were excited to meet other people working to protect the bush and talk to them about the great work the rangers are doing.

Rita and Lena were born on country and have a strong connection to the land. Both ladies are important role models in their community working hard to share their knowledge, protect threatened species and improve the condition of the spectacular desert landscape they call home.

Bush Heritage Australia is working in partnership with Central Desert Land and Community and Mungarlu Ngurraunkaja Rirraunkaja (the Traditional Owners) to expand the ranger program and it’s conservation outcomes across the 6.6 million hectare Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area.

It's the first time that rangers from Birriliburu have had the opportunity to speak at the conference which extends over one week each year in different cities around the country. It was also Rita’s first time on a ‘big’ plane and her first time out of Western Australia!

The ladies were selected to present during the Traditional Ecological Knowledge symposium. They proudly and confidently spoke about their ranger program and shared stories about bush tucker, fire management as well as Bilby and Marsupial Mole monitoring projects.

The ladies also listened to other presentations, met with ecologists from across Australia and attended the annual dinner at the Adelaide Wine Centre.

It wasn’t all work though. We fitted in some shopping, had a ride on the tram, tried out the local gelato and put our feet in the ocean at Glenelg Beach.

Natalie Davey representing the Bunuba Rangers in the Kimberley (another Bush Heritage Australia partnership) also spoke at the conference about their work in vine thickets and did an amazing job.

Thank you to the Ecological Society of Australia for giving the ladies the chance to tell their story and providing them each with a special travel grant.

I was also thrilled that two of my photos from Birriliburu were shortlisted in the annual photo competition and that the Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, mentioned the good work of Bush Heritage Australia during his opening address.

A big and wonderful week!