Manager of Aboriginal Partnerships Rebecca Lagerroth has been nominated to coach Indigenous Ranger, April Thomas (a Gunggandji ranger based at Yarrabah) for the next eight months as part of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection's (EHP) Land and Sea Ranger Stepping Up program. There are three other Wet Tropics rangers involved in the program – Victor Bulmer (a Djunbunji ranger based at East Trinity), Evelyn Ivey (a Girringun ranger based at Cardwell) and Tarquin Singleton (a Dawul Wuru ranger based in Cairns).
On 4 and 5 August 2016 coaches and rangers met up at Melsonby, north east of Cooktown for an induction to the program. The rangers each had a project to manage during the training that commenced for rangers on 1 August e.g. signage, gates, fencing, fire, erosion control.
"I was really impressed to see how the rangers worked together with Melsonby Traditional Owners to design projects, organise the equipment and provide directions work crews—to have the projects completed within just a couple of days:, Mrs Lagerroth said.
"April and I also participated in various activities to get to know each other, clarify goals and expectations in our coaching agreement and to start planning for April's project", Mrs Lagerroth added.
The EHP Stepping Up program is designed to develop the key skills required for rangers to “step up” into project management roles and become leaders in their ranger groups. It is intensive training that focuses on developing ranger skills in project planning, budgeting, people management and operational logistics.
After the induction training at Melsonby, each ranger manages a project within their own ranger group. Coaches support the rangers to implement the project and to utilise their new skills.
"Since the Melsonby workshop, April and I have met regularly to further strengthen April's new project management skills through the delivery of a turtle monitoring project at Yarrabah", Mrs Lagerroth said.
The rangers and coaches will meet again in March 2017 so that rangers can present the outcomes of their projects and the lessons learnt.