Wadandi rangers have opened up about their experiences working alongside conservation volunteers to protect the region’s vulnerable bush and biodiversity hotspots. The rangers recently held regeneration work with Nature Conservation Margaret River Region ground crews, which was co-ordinated by the Undalup Association with funding from Greening Australia and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. The Undalup rangers program started in 2021 as part of State Government efforts to bring traditional custodians into direct work sustaining their home environments. Rangers Kaylene Gray and Meeka Rees most recently worked controlling weeds and invasive species on the Rails to Trails walkway near the Margaret River. “We’ve had so many great opportunities,” Ms Rees said. “We’ve got to work with amazing groups like Nature Conservation, the University of WA and all sorts of different environmentally-conscious groups. “We’re part of a good group of rangers who are really keen and passionate and excited about caring for country.” Ms Gray said the program was “absolutely awesome”. “I love everything about it,” she said. “Everything we do working on country and working with people and groups across the South West. It’s really inspiring. “In the small amount of time we’ve been working with Nature Conservation, I’ve learned a lot. It’s very interesting.” Undalup Association spokesperson and custodian Zac Webb said there were several benefits from the rangers program. “(It) makes sure our rangers can get out on country and educate people on the culture and importance of leaving country as it is, walking softly upon it, leaving footprints and taking (only) memories, stories and photographs with you,” he said. Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said the local environment gained from collaborative efforts. “We really value the opportunity to work alongside the Undalup rangers on the protection of our remnant vegetation, and to share and learn together,” he said. “Partnering allows us to boost our collective impact. “We are already looking for the next opportunity to partner together to care for Boodja.” The rangers program started as part of WA’s Green Jobs Plan announced in July 2020. While the number of Aboriginal rangers produced by the program was not available, 10 per cent of the 608 jobs created were run by traditional custodian groups.