Taree Indigenous Development and Employment Ltd (TIDE) has recently received more than $350,000 from the Australian government's Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program.
"No one will forget the devastating bushfires that tore across the Mid North Coast in late 2019, and the shocking impact these infernos had on our Country and the native animals and birds," chief executive officer of TIDE, Uncle John Clark OAM said.
"I am very pleased to see Indigenous Rangers getting out on Country and playing such a vital role in helping the wildlife and habitat recover from the fires."
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The grant will provide funding for on-ground actions by Indigenous participants in the Mid North Coast Aboriginal Ranger Working on Country (WOC) Program which is delivered by TIDE.
The funded activities in the recovery project include wildlife surveys, installation of nest boxes, post fire weed control, vertebrate pest management and vegetation management through cultural burning.
"These activities are making a significant contribution to the recovery of bushfire affected wildlife and habitat across various land tenures within the Mid Coast Council area, including Aboriginal owned lands, lands with Aboriginal cultural significance, areas of high conservation value and other lands affected by the bushfires." Uncle John said.
In order to maximise the impact of the recovery program TIDE has brought together a Project Steering Committee of experienced land managers and ecologists from various agencies including Local Aboriginal Land Councils, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Mid Coast Council, Forestry Corporation, Local Land Services and Landcare, to guide the project.
There are six Indigenous Rangers who make up the Aboriginal Bushfire Recovery Rangers (ABRR) and in the field the rangers are led by consultant ecologist Dan Pedersen.
"They have been very busy over the last couple of months. After completing extensive post fire weeding in the Darawank swamp, the Rangers are now using wildlife cameras at various sites to establish the presence or absence of species and to identify any pest species such as foxes which might be threatening native species recovery," program manager for TIDE, Chris Sheed OAM said.
Soon the Rangers will be installing up to 500 nest boxes to aid species nesting and denning and to replace the large number of habitat trees and their vital hollows that were lost in the fires.
"Being one of the Aboriginal rangers working on the bush fire recovery program has been a privilege," ranger, Whitney Ridgeway said.
"Every day I am lucky enough to be out in the field working on Country, gaining new skills and applying a blend of modern and traditional knowledge on landscapes that have been affected by the 2019 bushfires.
"As a Worimi women working on Worimi land this job has given me a sense of purpose and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the recovery process"
Wade Lancett, another Indigenous ranger working on the recovery project added, "I am insanely proud to be working on this bushfire recovery project. Our Country was devastated by more fire than usual last year, and I feel privileged to be a part of the team to study her recovery."
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