Birriliburu rangers tell their story at ESA conference

about  Birriliburu partnership  
on 08 Dec 2015 
Putting our feet in the ocean at Glenelg Beach.<br/> Putting our feet in the ocean at Glenelg Beach.
Rita, Lena and Vanessa giving their presentation as part of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge symposium.<br/> Rita, Lena and Vanessa giving their presentation as part of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge symposium.
On our way to ESA - at the Perth Airport.<br/> On our way to ESA - at the Perth Airport.
It was Rita's first time on a 'big' plane so we made sure she could have the window seat.<br/> It was Rita's first time on a 'big' plane so we made sure she could have the window seat.
Lena (left) and Rita (right) ready for the opening session at the conference.<br/> Lena (left) and Rita (right) ready for the opening session at the conference.
Lena, Rita and Natalie from Bunuba.<br/> Lena, Rita and Natalie from Bunuba.
Lena, Vanessa and Rita at the Ecological Society of Australia conference in Adelaide.<br/> Lena, Vanessa and Rita at the Ecological Society of Australia conference in Adelaide.
Sharing stories with young Arnhem Land rangers at the annual dinner.<br/> Sharing stories with young Arnhem Land rangers at the annual dinner.
Camouflage extraordinaire. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.<br/>Pebble Dragon (Tympanocryptis cephalus). This clever disguise provides passive defence from predators. Spotted by the female ranger team on their way to work at Katjarra (Carnarvon Range). Thanks for pointing it out ladies! Photo: Vanessa Westcott. Camouflage extraordinaire. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.
Pebble Dragon (Tympanocryptis cephalus). This clever disguise provides passive defence from predators. Spotted by the female ranger team on their way to work at Katjarra (Carnarvon Range). Thanks for pointing it out ladies! Photo: Vanessa Westcott.
Waru. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.<br/>Fire, or waru, has immense cultural and ecological significance in the desert landscapes of this region. This fire was lit by the Birriliburu ranger team as part of their ongoing conservation work on country. Photo: Vanessa Westcott. Waru. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.
Fire, or waru, has immense cultural and ecological significance in the desert landscapes of this region. This fire was lit by the Birriliburu ranger team as part of their ongoing conservation work on country. Photo: Vanessa Westcott.

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!

Rita, Lena and Vanessa giving their presentation as part of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge symposium.<br/> Rita, Lena and Vanessa giving their presentation as part of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge symposium.
On our way to ESA - at the Perth Airport.<br/> On our way to ESA - at the Perth Airport.
It was Rita's first time on a 'big' plane so we made sure she could have the window seat.<br/> It was Rita's first time on a 'big' plane so we made sure she could have the window seat.
Lena (left) and Rita (right) ready for the opening session at the conference.<br/> Lena (left) and Rita (right) ready for the opening session at the conference.
Lena, Rita and Natalie from Bunuba.<br/> Lena, Rita and Natalie from Bunuba.
Lena, Vanessa and Rita at the Ecological Society of Australia conference in Adelaide.<br/> Lena, Vanessa and Rita at the Ecological Society of Australia conference in Adelaide.
Sharing stories with young Arnhem Land rangers at the annual dinner.<br/> Sharing stories with young Arnhem Land rangers at the annual dinner.
Camouflage extraordinaire. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.<br/>Pebble Dragon (Tympanocryptis cephalus). This clever disguise provides passive defence from predators. Spotted by the female ranger team on their way to work at Katjarra (Carnarvon Range). Thanks for pointing it out ladies! Photo: Vanessa Westcott. Camouflage extraordinaire. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.
Pebble Dragon (Tympanocryptis cephalus). This clever disguise provides passive defence from predators. Spotted by the female ranger team on their way to work at Katjarra (Carnarvon Range). Thanks for pointing it out ladies! Photo: Vanessa Westcott.
Waru. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.<br/>Fire, or waru, has immense cultural and ecological significance in the desert landscapes of this region. This fire was lit by the Birriliburu ranger team as part of their ongoing conservation work on country. Photo: Vanessa Westcott. Waru. Birriliburu photo shortlisted in ESA photo competition.
Fire, or waru, has immense cultural and ecological significance in the desert landscapes of this region. This fire was lit by the Birriliburu ranger team as part of their ongoing conservation work on country. Photo: Vanessa Westcott.
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