Junior Rangers – Connecting Learning on Country, School and Culture
The Crocodile Islands Rangers have been working closely with Milingimbi School to deliver the Crocodile Islands Youth Engagement Program, fondly called “Junior Rangers”. This program is modelled on the successful Learning on Country programs that are running in neighbouring communities. The Junior Rangers program brings culturally relevant content into the classroom, as well as facilitating the preservation of Indigenous knowledge, by providing school students with the opportunity to participate in cultural activities on country, which are then extended into the classroom program.
Milingimbi School students have already attended multiple activities on country, learning about different aspects of Indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge from experienced senior members of the community.
Middle Years boys have been participating in making a Yidaki – working through the process of selecting and cutting the right tree, and then shaping and painting their own Yidaki from start to finish.
Senior students have been learning about bush foods through the experience of harvesting local honey. They were taught how to identify the best places to find the native beehives, and how to harvest “guku” or bush honey. From opening the hives, students learnt about the lifecycle of stingless bees, the hive’s shape, and how to identify the pollen, wax, and brood (eggs). Eating the guku made this lesson even more exciting!
Whilst looking forward and embracing opportunities that modern technology offers, the Crocodile Islands Rangers want to ensure strong foundations with the preservation of Yolngu ecological and cultural knowledge and identity.
Thank you to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for funding this program. We would also like to acknowledge the support of other Learning on Country groups across across East Arnhem Land, in Maningrida, Galiwinku and Yirrkala, for sharing their knowledge and experience.