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23 April, 2021

Women rangers gather for QIWRN workshop

More than 50 Indigenous women rangers from across Queensland gathered in Palm Cove yesterday for a day of networking, empowerment and learning at the first Queensland Indigenous Women’s Ranger Network (QIWRN) event for 2021.

Dawn Harrigan, James Fa'aoso, Chantel Van Wamelen April 22 2021 Palm Cove

QIWRN was established in 2018 to provide a forum for women rangers to share their experiences, ideas and information and enable connections in remote and isolated communities.

 Network Director Larissa Hale said the network gave women rangers a voice ad helped them develop more confidence in the workplace and at home.

“As a result of QIWRN, I’ve witnessed the ladies go from strength to strength, taking more leading roles in their ranger teams and communities,” she said.

“We have women from all over the State, working for Indigenous ranger groups and government bodies such as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and together they really bring out each other’s strengths.”

Network member Chantel Van Wamelen travelled from the Fraser Coast to attend the workshop, and said being part of the group was worthwhile for her both personally and professionally.

“I’ve been with QIWRN since 2019, and have developed some great friendships. It’s like being part of a sisterhood,” she said.

“We all keep in regular contact in relation to work, sharing advice and giving support. QIWRN has helped me grow as a leader, and supported me both professionally and personally as a mother, helping develop a better work life balance.”

As well as re-connecting with friends, conference attendees brushed up their media skills with Kirsty Nancarrow from Regional Media Training, explored their strengths and weaknesses and learnt about personal development with mentor James Fa’aoso and enjoyed team building with John Carr from Coach Central.

QIWRN is delivered by Yuku Baja Muliku Landowner and Reserves, a Cooktown-based Traditional Owner group who were the successful recipients of a joint State Government and WWF Australia grant to establish a state-wide women’s land and sea ranger network.

QIWRN has been co-designed by Indigenous women, government and non-government agencies, land councils and other stakeholders as a highly collaborative program that delivers lasting support, opportunities and security for Indigenous women rangers across Queensland.

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