Kakadu's Junior Rangers are an intrepid group of 11 and 12 year olds from nearby schools who get a hands-on taste of ranger work as part of their school curriculum. As part of the program the kids helped record and release a cheeky ginga (salt water crocodile) that was taking too much interest in people fishing! The students found it a fascinating learning experience. They have also been learning about the preservation of Kakadu's rock art. Looking after paintings made by their direct ancestors represents a continuous and ongoing tradition of about 60,000 years. We're proud to think Kakadu's future is in such good hands.
The Kakadu National Park Junior Ranger Program is a long standing and successful program which provides opportunities for local school-based Bininj (indigenous) and Balanda (non-indigenous) students to learn about local Bininj culture, country and the management of Kakadu National Park.
Three primary schools, Jabiru, Gunbalanya and Pine Creek, are involved with the program. It provides fundamental knowledge for students and is the first link in a chain of programs which provide education, training and employment pathways in Kakadu.
Developed at the request of traditional owners and other stakeholders, the Junior Ranger Program is aligned with the school curriculum and is delivered for upper primary school students. Lessons cover key topics fundamental to understanding Kakadu’s cultural and natural values, as well as its management context. They include joint management, the six seasons of Kakadu, habitats, ranger work, weed control, fire management, cultural tourism.
The Junior Ranger Program includes a range of field-based learning activities plus indoor lessons. An annual Junior Ranger camp is also scheduled. Lessons are delivered at various locations around the park and in the school classroom.