Get involved through our new crowdfunding campaign: Help empower Indigenous women to protect endangered species and manage one of the largest undocumented bodies of rock art in the world.
The Daluk (women) Rangers play an essential role in the implementation and data analysis of the Warddeken Species Recovery Project and the documentation and protection of approximately 30,000 rock art sites across the IPA which is thought to be the largest undocumented body of rock art in the world.
The Daluk Ranger program aims to steadily increase the proportion of total hours worked by women through the engagement of a Women’s Ranger Coordinator. The project has been highly successful to date and is an integral feature of Warddeken’s work program, which contributes to the overall health of the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area.
In order to broaden the current Daluk Ranger Program, it is necessary to:
Employ a second qualified Daluk ranger coordinator to train and supervise Daluk rangers in Warddeken’s second ranger base at the community of Manmoyi.
Second, increase the overall wage budget for Indigenous rangers by up to three full-time positions, which will create capacity to engage up to 21 Indigenous Daluk rangers on a casual basis.
By Supporting the Daluk Rangers you will become part of a journey that will enable remote Indigenous communities to have a say about how their unique land, ecosystem and cultural heritage is cared for and protected.
Click here to donate and thank you in advance for your generous support!
To me, I’m very proud. So are the families, community, rangers, the company is so proud to have the school out there. It is a very big difference. Everyone wants their kids educated out in the bush. - Dean Yibarbuk, Senior Warddeken Mentor
In 2015, the Nawarddeken Academy was established at Kabulwarnamyo. It is a deep source of pride, and seen by the community as being critical to the future of Warddeken. In just over two years, the Academy has grown from a one-teacher school with eight students to to a multi-teacher school with three casual Aboriginal teaching assistants and 51 students (11 core primary students, 5 early learners and 35 seasonal students that visit the Academy, often to find refuge from the complications and difficulties of large Indigenous growth towns).
Significantly, all of this has been achieved through the generous support of philanthropists and Warddeken Land Management. In order to receive recurrent government funding in the future, the Academy has applied for Independent School Registration, which we are eagerly awaiting an outcome from this June.
This term, the Academy has enlisted the support of two very talented Warddeken Rangers who have skills in Music and IT. Elkana and Ray have been running regular sessions with students teaching them how to use the Apple Garageband application on the iPads to create music. The interactive whiteboard has served as an excellent group demonstration tool for students to learn how to navigate the application. Many students are now able to independently create their own soundtracks thanks to these amazing men. The use of music and song lyrics is an excellent gateway to both English and Kunwinjku literacy and music is a genuine career path for some of these students.
The Mayh Species Recovery program aims to develop a monitoring network that will evaluate the impact of Warddeken’s fire and feral management across the Indigenous Protected Area. The purpose of the project is to recover critically endangered small mammal populations by adapting the way that land is managed.
Daluk (women) Rangers from Kabulwarnamyo and Manmoyi ranger bases, as well as a number of Daluk Rangers currently based at Mamadawerre community, have continued to work closely with ecologist Alys Stevens on the second year of motion sensor camera deployments. This work is physically demanding, with rangers working 10 hour days to set-up, up to 30 cameras a day across a range of stone country habitats.
In January of this year, the Daluk completed their first round of data collection sequencing which is done completely electronically. Currently the program is in English, yet the next stage of the process will be to develop a version in Bininj Kunwok (local indigenous language). With the second phase of deployments to be completed by July, Daluk will play a key role in the analysis of photographic data through the months of July – September.
Gillian Galarminda has lived on and off at Kabulwarnamyo since she was a child. In 2018, at 18 years of age, Gillian became the newest recruit to our Daluk (women) Ranger program. Gillian has shown a keen interest in and aptitude for digital technologies, recently playing a major role in compiling geographic data for rock art sites within the Warddeken IPA. Gillian initially worked with coordinator Georgia Vallance, and then independently, to bring together disparate data sets of rock art site coordinates into one ‘master’ site list. This work included managing an excel spreadsheet and working in Google Earth to add individual points for every rock art site. Her work has lead to the first master rock art site list for the Warddeken IPA, and has improved our understanding of previous survey efforts as well as the distribution of art sites. We now know that the number of distinct recorded art sites in the IPA currently stands at 591 out of the approximately 30,000 sites that are believed to exist.
Nigel Gellar is a Rembarrnga man from Central Arnhem Land, who in 2002 assisted his dear friend Bardayal (Lofty) Nadjamerrek to return to the West Arnhem Plateau and establish the Kabulwarnamyo ranger base (now within the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area). Nigel has worked to build Warddeken Land Management ever since and the company is stronger for his involvement. Nigel brought a depth of knowledge, traditional and western, to his position as Senior Ranger Coordinator, both in fire management and looking at the impact of feral cats and buffalo damage to freshwater systems.
Nigel’s passion has always been “showing young fellas how to do the job properly” and he has been an exemplary mentor to dozens of young rangers.
Nigel has recently retired but his humility, strength, humour and overwhelming contribution to land and cultural management make him a true Australian legend.
When we arrived in Kabulwarnamyo we got welcomed by all the locals. A young girl poured water over our head from the springs and told the old spirits and ancestors that we were just visitors and we would leave soon and respect everything properly. I called this our baptism. After this we had a 5 minute walk to get to the school (Nawarddeken Academy). We had a few hours at the school, in this time we had a cultural lesson about the skin names and groups the aboriginals use. It was very complex and I still do not understand it but it was still fun talking to them, and trying to figure it out. My skin name is ‘Kodjok’.
After this we went to see some rock paintings done by their ancestors. The first painting we saw was a kangaroo and somebody chasing the kangaroo, like it was hunting it. Lofty, the founder of the community was the painter of this drawing. We then went to a naturally “air conditioned” cave, extremely close to the kangaroo rock painting. After this we went to some more rock paintings. There were a lot of paintings there but my favourite was the one of the Tasmanian tiger, this shows that they have been here for a long time.
We then went to a really calm waterfall that had a lot of algae/slime in the bottom of it. We made good use of the algae by throwing it at each other and making some green hair on some people. After this we left the rest of the group and went to the visitors camp half an hour away from Kabulwarnamyo. Although, when we were about half way there it started raining. So we got to the camp and tried to start a fire. It was unsuccessful so, we packed up the tents and headed back to the original camp. We then camped underneath a Balabala, which is a really large tent.
The next morning, we went straight out to Manmoyi which was a 2 hour drive from Kabulwarnamyo. Manmoyi is the closest town from Kabulwarnamyo. When we were travelling we had to cross a river. We got stuck in this river and there was a lot of water coming into the 4WD. Luckily there was a tractor waiting there ready for us in case we got bogged. When we arrived to Manmoyi we went straight to the school. This school was not as advantaged as the first school we went to, it only had a teacher 2 days a week. On the other days it only had a member of staff to look after them. We then gave the kids some gifts and went to look at the rest of the village and the river.
The women at the office told us about how they were taking photos of the animals. They put secret photo cameras in the forest and whenever movement was spotted it would take a photo of it, they had around 500,000 photos (although most of them were nothing, it is still a lot of photos). They did spot some interesting animals though.
That afternoon we went all the way back to camp but we stopped twice. The first time we stopped to throw matches into the bush to burn some bad bush. I got to throw a lot of matches as well which was pretty cool as you can’t do THAT at home. The second time we stopped to go swimming in the river. It was an excellent river with the perfect temperature. After we got out, one of the rangers told us there were freshwater crocs in there. I’m not sure I would have gone swimming if I knew about them.
The next and final day of our time in Arnhem Land we went and said one last goodbye to the school and the rest of the village. We started by going to the school and giving them some more gifts. After this I got given a buffalo skull by the lead male ranger, Jake. It was a magnificent skull as the buffalo's horns were curved which was probably a 1 in a million skull. After this we left from Darwin and said goodbye to Bjorn and Nina and flew off in the plane.
After this wonderful experience I learnt many things, but the biggest lesson was to be grateful of how lucky I am. It’s just the little things that matter. I get an extraordinary education and these guys have a decent education considering it’s in Arnhem Land. The little things like water and a brick house and not just tents under a balabalas. Internet, a mobile phone, all these things are the little extra things that make life easier. These people seem extremely happy, even without all these modern conveniences that I take for granted everyday…
The first week of May marked a very special occasion for Bawinanga Rangers.
More than 50 landholders from across the Djelk IPA came together on Bolkjam Homelands, to contribute to the development of our first Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Steering Committee.
The IPA committee will provide a much needed platform for senior landholders and Djungkay from across the 12 language groups, to come together and set direction on land and sea management activities in the IPA.
This is a significant step forward for rangers and Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation to ensure the knowledge and expertise of landholders and Djungkay across the IPA is captured and valued, needs of people on homelands are being heard and addressed and communication pathways are improved.
Many people in our community volunteered their time and worked tirelessly prior and during this event. I would like to thank everyone who supported us and contributed to its timely success. Without community support, this meeting would not have been possible.
A special acknowledgement to our facilitator Ian Munro and guest speakers Jen Ansell and Mark Desailly who supported on short notice, to Kelly Cooper and his CDP team for spending two days clearing land at Bolkjam, Michelle Culpitt and the Arts and Culture team for their ongoing guidance, Natalie Carey from the Maningrida School and Shane Bailey from Learning on Country who supplied the majority of the equipment and assisted with the running of the day and to the staff at Barlmarrk who went above and beyond to support with catering needs.
Last but not least thank you to the rangers and my senior team who have worked very hard to pull this meeting together.
We are now in the process of developing the committee governance structure and will aim to bring nominated delegates together in 2 weeks to begin the discussions on land and sea management activities.
Congratulations to all who were involved and a big thank you for your support.
Learning on Country and the Bawinanga Djelk Rangers are proud to announce the probationary full-time employment of Interns Dioni Brian and Normalina Olsen (front row of above image) to the Djelk team. They join Rickisha Redford Bohme and Jonah Ryan (back row) as the newest recruits to the Rangers.
These four ex-students completed their Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management last year and entered the Djelk Ranger Internship program.
Last week the Maningrida Community celebrated the Year 12 NTCET Graduation of these very students and this week they are part of the ‘Caring for Country’ workforce.
Learning on Country is about developing not only the next generation of Rangers but the future leaders of this Community, educated in a two way learning system and able to walk strong in both the Bininj and Balanda worlds.
Finally, may the new recruits stand proud of their achievements and reap the benefits of their success. We wish them all the best for the future.
Mimal Land Management is focused on bringing benefits to country and culture for the Dalabon, Rembarrnga and Mayili landowners and people in south central Arnhem Land.
The Mimal Land Management (MLM) area sits at the geographic centre of Arnhem Land, about 250 km east from Katherine. It covers an area that’s nearly as big as Kakadu National Park.
The main communities and homelands in the area include Bulman, Weemol and Barrapunta (Emu Springs). About 300 people reside in Bulman and Weemol, which is located 312km northeast of Katherine on the Central Arnhem Highway.
Following the growth of fire emissions abatement projects, our landowners saw the opportunity to secure autonomy for our ranger group.
The first major step was incorporation in April 2015, followed by a gradual transition of the Mimal rangers from Northern Land Council to operating wholly with Mimal Land Management.
With the transfer of Working on Country contracts to Mimal, the transition is complete and cause to pause and celebrate.
MLM have had a long journey to independence since the inception of Mimal Rangers almost 20 years ago. On Wednesday October 25, 2017, MLM celebrated a new chapter as a group, gaining control over their own land and working towards a clear vision for their people, country and culture.
It is with great excitement, we share with you that Stacey Irving, our Director of Development was awarded as the ‘Young Fundraiser of the Year 2018’ by the Fundraising Institute of Australia. This award recognises her 10 years of fundraising, starting with founding a small social non-profit and asking her friends to donate, to specialising in major gift fundraising for large scale conservation projects. As part of her prize she went to New Orleans to attend the International Fundraising Conference, to learn from some of the greatest fundraisers in the world. Stacey works tirelessly for the projects we support and we’re very fortunate she is part of the KKT team.
Nina Davis joined the KKT team in January of this year. She has worked in education as a primary school teacher and technology innovator over the past six years. Recently Nina entered this enriching new environment as she takes on the role of Support Officer for the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust. She is working towards a Masters in Aboriginal Studies at the University of South Australia, which will bring a whole new perspective to her work.
It has been just over two years since the Nawarddeken Academy opened and we are proud to report that the school is now established as an independent entity, with a standalone board and the full set of operating arrangements expected of a fully-fledged independent school.
We are immensely proud to say that the Academy has now submitted its independent school registration application which is a major milestone.
Starting with only eight students and one teacher, the Academy has quickly grown and now has;
— one permanent full-time teacher and one full time executive officer
— a part time teacher
— three casual Indigenous teaching assistants and
— a growing number of students (15 primary and 5 early childhood).
The school board held their second meeting in October. The meeting demonstrated the strong partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous directors and employees, all highly committed to the organisation's vision of providing exceptional and cultural relevant education to children across West Arnhem Land. Whilst the Academy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Warddeken and led by several Indigenous directors and community elders, they have chosen to appoint four non-Indigenous expert directors who include Leonie Jones (a former remote school principal who is well respected by the Department of Education), David Arthur (Treasurer for the Association of Independent Schools, NT), Richard Tudor (former principal of Trinity Grammar, founder of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and former chair of the Nawarddeken Academy Steering Committee) and Margie Moroney (Director of the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust, former Steering Committee member and founding supporter of the Nawarddeken Academy). KKT Chairman Justin Punch, director Fred Hunter and CEO Bjorn Everts also attended the meeting, reflecting KKT’s ongoing and close partnership with this vital project.
During the meeting it was decided that an extensive round of community consultations take place to inform the way that the Nawarddeken Academy executes its vision over the next three to five years. We intend to bring the resulting plans to supporters in the new year. We're thrilled to continue to be a part of this journey.
For the first time, this term, Early Learning educators participated in early childhood training with a qualified early childhood trainer in Kabulwarnamyo. Nina Zepnick worked collaboratively with the Nawarddeken Early Learning Program (NELP) staff and students for a two week period which gave the teachers a chance to reflect on their current teaching practices and plan engaging activities for their students. It has been wonderful to see that the training has inspired the NELP educators to further develop their skills in early childhood education and they are now better able to involve families in the learning process with their children.
In addition to this training in Kabulwarnamyo, there is an opportunity for the NELP educators to attend the Department of Education’s Abecedarian training in Jabiru to further extend their professional development. This will play a vital role towards ensuring that appropriate and high quality early learning education is delivered in Kabulwarnamyo.
With the school now completing its startup phase of operations, planning is currently underway for its next phase of growth and development. Educational needs in the region are significant, and the school’s board, Warddeken Land Management Limited (WLML) and KKT are focussed on how best to expand to meet these needs.
Together we share the hope and vision that the ongoing success of Nawarddeken Academy might provide a template for the improvement of remote Indigenous education across the region and possibly Australia-wide.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce the newest member of the KKT team, Stacey Irving.
Stacey is a philanthropy and development specialist, who works with individuals, trusts, and foundations to connect their generosity to work that is meaningful and impactful.
Stacey comes to KKT keen to deepen her understanding of bininj (Indigenous peoples) connection to country. It is her hope that with KKT she can support the growth and breadth of Indigenous-lead cultural and environmental projects across Arnhem Land.
Stacey has completed an undergraduate degree in International Development, and a Master of International Urban and Environmental Management, which included a focus on Indigenous land management.
Stacey has 10 years experience working in the non-profit sector. She most recently focused on leading the major gifts program at Bush Heritage Australia, along with voluntarily running a community arts based non-profit called Creative Spark. Stacey will be an invaluable addition to our team.
The Warddeken Women’s Ranger Project continue to receive positive media coverage for the extensive work the women's rangers are doing to not only close the gender gap but to empower other Indigenous women to engage in the workforce in their respective communities. The project, funded by KKT with generous support from the Jibb Foundation and the Klein Foundation commenced in 2017 with the recruitment of Georgia Vallance as women’s ranger coordinator.
Click here to read an excerpt or purchase the full article from RM Williams ‘OUTBACK’ magazine.
Believed to be a world-first in using fire to create carbon credits, the Warddeken Rangers are using traditional fire management techniques combined with new technology to protect the landscape. Kabulwarnamyo is the main outstation in the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area, a nine-hour drive from Darwin through difficult terrain. It is the birthplace of the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project. There are now 80 projects across Northern Australia using this same methodology, producing great results for the land.
In 2016 alone, Arnhem Land projects produced 830,000 tonnes of carbon abatement. The funds from this work will be reinvested into the land management and cultural heritage work conducted across Arnhem Land.
Throughout this process, traditional owners are consulted about which are the best areas to burn in the early dry season to help reduce the risk of large scale, uncontrolled fires later in the season. Having traditional owners guide this project not only provides critical Indigenous knowledge that is needed for its success but ensures they stay connected to their spiritual obligations to the land.
Click here to read the ABC article on the Warddeken Ranger fire management program.
Earlier this year the Mayh Threatened Species Recovery Project deployed arrays of rugged camera traps at 60 biodiversity monitoring sites across the 14,000 square kilometres of the Warddeken IPA. The Warddeken Daluk (women’s) Rangers have now analysed more the 475,000 images from the first round of remote camera surveys. This produced impressive results with 28 of a possible 33 mammal species expected to be recorded detected with the most exciting captures being the critically endangered (NT) djabbo, Northern Quoll and endangered bakkadjdji, Black-footed Tree-rat.
Warddeken Rangers invested more than 500 hours into this work, including the development of targeted reporting for each clan estate surveyed. By generating species distribution models from real records, the monitoring will not only reveal where species are present, but also allow us to predict where else they may occur in the IPA.
As this project continues, there will be an additional 60 sites surveyed in 2018, with arrays of motion sensing cameras deployed to be able to collect more in depth data on these animals as well as a new database to make recording their sightings far more efficient. This is an exciting, capacity building project for the women rangers of Warddeken who are developing and using cutting-edge science and technology rather than relying on the intervention of Western experts.
Bjorn Everts, CEO of KKT will be travelling to Melbourne to facilitate the Simplot ambassador program. Through this program a delegation of Simplot staff will be flown to the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area to experience first hand the meaningful role that Simplot play for Warddeken Rangers in the IPA. Staff will be taken on one of the fortnightly air charter services that deliver food and supplies to the remote communities of Kabulwarnamyo and Manmoyi. Simplot’s support of this critical supply line enables Warddeken rangers to be permanently based in these communities and our thanks go to them for this vital contribution.
Another exciting research project that KKT has facilitated is the management of feral pigs, cattle and buffalo in the Djelk IPA. The project, run by CSIRO scientist Justin Perry, aims to further develop technology that will assist Indigenous groups, to reduce the serious environmental impacts caused by these animals. Previously, it has been difficult to track and control these animals due to inaccessibility, significant cost and technical challenges. With the guidance of CSIRO and new tracking device technologies developed by JCU, there are new developments in how this tracking can take place.
The project aims to track the movements of these animals in real time (hourly), so their habits can be predicted, and this data will then be used to manage the species. “The primary on-ground benefits will be to help save the marine turtles, through reducing egg predation, and to restore extensive wetlands (and associated biodiversity and carbon-capture) benefits that are currently being destroyed.” Justin Perry.
The project will be in partnership with three Indigenous land management organisations, so a strategic management plan can be put in place to suit a variety of community needs as well as open up new employment opportunities for Indigenous groups, including carbon capture and environmental management activities.