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Ranger groups in line for awards

Posted: Wed, November 11, 2015

NLC ranger groups and NLC Caring For country staff member Xavier Espiau have been recognised by the NT Natural Resource Management organisation.

Wagiman Guwardagun, Kenbi and Arafura Swamp rangers along with Mr Espiau are finalists at the 2015 NT NRM and NT Landcare Awards, being held tonight.

They have been nominated in the NRM’s Research in Natural Resource Management, Indigenous Champion(s), and Best Story categories, and Landcare’s Indigenous Land Management categories.

The Wagiman Guwardagun Rangers are finalists in both the Indigenous Champion(s) and Indigenous Land Management categories. Based southwest of Pine Creek, the Wagiman Guwardagun Rangers men’s and women’s groups are responsible for ‘approximately 400sq/km of country, and are concerned with the impacts of wildfire, conserving biodiversity, protecting plants animals and sacred sites’. Jubal Huddelstone is a senior ranger in the group, and the group's cultural camps have increased the Wagiman people’s capacity to managing country with both traditional and western methods.

The Wagiman group are joined in the land management awards category by the Kenbi Ranger group. The Kenbi Rangers are responsible for the cultural and natural resource management of the proposed Kenbi land claim area, covering approximately 600sq/km across the Cox Peninsula, across the harbour from Darwin City. While this area is small compared with other Aboriginal land trusts, it includes a fantastic diversity of habitats – wetlands, black soil floodplains and open woodland. The Kenbi Ranger group has been in operation for only five years but it’s already developed an extensive list of fee-for-service activities and is involved in the long-term regeneration and conservation of the land and sea estates to maintain cultural and natural resource management traditions.

The Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation has been nominated in the TNRM Best NRM Story. In managing feral pigs and wetland weeds species the, Arafura Swamp Rangers based in Ramingining have been interested in ways to make data capture and representation of natural resource management activities easier.
Recent use of a durable compact high definition geo-referencing camera has helped achieve both aims. Through a short informative video the rangers have been able to show the Ramingining community the on-ground activities and cultural history of areas in a visually appealing way that future generations will be able to understand and access easily.

Mr Espiau has been nominated in the Research in NRM category. He has lived in the Top End and worked in the field of IT support for Indigenous communities since 2008. Spending considerable time in remote communities, Mr Espiau has worked for the Northern Land Council since 2012 where he has researched and developed NRM software and programs to assist 17 remotely located Indigenous ranger groups throughout the Northern Territory.
His unique set of skills complemented by his drive for perfection and understanding of Indigenous cultural issues have enabled him to develop several systems that are specifically suited to Indigenous people.

Others nominated for the awards include Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, Larrakia Rangers, Crocodile Islands Rangers, li-Anthawirriyarrra Sea Rangers, and the Indigenous Pastoral Program.

The awards night is held during the NT NRM’s annual three-day conference at the Darwin Waterfront.