Nature Conservation Margaret River Region is teaming up with the Undalup Association’s Wadandi rangers to protect bushland and biodiversity in our area.

Rangers Meeka Rees, 21, and Kaylene Gray, 42, joined Nathan Hammer and Jackson Res from Nature Conservation’s on-ground team to control weedy trees and other invasive species in bushland along the Rails to Trails walkway near the Margaret River recently.

“It’s amazing. We’ve had so many great opportunities. We’ve got to work with amazing groups like Nature Conservation, University of Western Australia and all sorts of different environmentally-conscious groups,” says Meeka. “It’s been fantastic. This week we helped with controlling Sweet Pittosporum and other woody weeds. We’re part of a good group of rangers who are really keen and passionate and excited about caring for country.”

Fellow ranger Kaylene said the program was “absolutely awesome”. “I love everything about it. 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.”

Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said collaboration was key to bringing together the many local groups working to help protect our natural environment. “We really value the opportunity to work alongside the Undalup Rangers on the protection of our remnant vegetation, and to share and learn together. Partnering allows us to boost our collective impact. We are already looking for the next opportunity to partner together to care for Boodja.”

The region’s peak environment and conservation group is best known for its youth education programs, working with landholders, and environmental initiatives such as the Arum Lily Blitz and Caring for Coast programs, but Nature Conservation also has an on-ground team that can be hired for contract work on private property. Additionally, the on-ground team work hand-in-hand with community and volunteer groups, including the Undalup Rangers.

The first cohort of rangers graduated in 2021 in the program run by Undalup Association in conjunction with Greening Australia and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. Cultural custodian Zac Webb says the program “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”.