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Rangers rise to Smackdown challenge

Nov 21, 2016

Rangers from across the Kimberley have gathered north of Beagle Bay on Nyul Nyul country for the hugely anticipated 2016 Smackdown challenge.

The event brought together more than 70 Kimberley Ranger Network rangers, some travelling as far as Kalumburu and Mulan communities, to compete in the name of literacy and numeracy.

Rangers took part in a number of challenges, including a ‘Ranger Olympics’ featuring spear throwing, a safety relay, orienteering, raft building, puzzles, video production and the coveted camp oven cook off, where rangers cook up their best camp oven meal.

Organised by the Kimberley Land Council together with North Regional TAFE (NRT), Smackdown has been running since 2011 as a fun way to celebrate the hard work of rangers throughout the year, particularly in relation to literacy and numeracy studies.

The event builds upon year round support from NRT, with ranger groups receiving targeted language, numeracy and literacy support on projects directly related to their ranger work plans and training in conservation and land management.

Paruku Rangers Jamie Brown and Karl Gordon said this year’s Smackdown was a chance to develop skills, network and have fun.

"Literacy and numeracy is a really big part of our job, Jamie said. "We use these skills all the time for recording data and all other types of results."

Karl likened the week to "Survivor-style training" and said meeting other rangers was a highlight.

"It’s been good to see all different faces and get to know other people from other places," he said.

According to KLC Deputy Chief Executive Officer Tyronne Garstone, Smackdown is a fun event that has a serious purpose.

"Numeracy and literacy skills are vital in the day to day work of rangers," Mr Garstone said.

"The ranger program helps these men and women to build confidence and proficiency in these skills, and our rangers are very committed to this part of their professional development.

"North Regional TAFE plays a critical role in delivering this education, so that rangers can use literacy and numeracy skills to deliver programs on the ground to care for country."

The combined Bardi Jawi and Bardi Jawi Oorany ranger team was crowned the eventual winner of Smackdown 2016, followed by the Ngurrara rangers in second place who also took out the camp oven cook off with their delicious kangaroo tail stew.