Co-Founder & Managing Director, Queensland Indigenous Womens Ranger Network;
2022 Earthshot Prize Winner
Born and raised in Far North Queensland, Australia. I spent most of my childhood in Cape York. I am the Managing Director of Yuku Baja Muliku Landowner & Reserves Ltd, the Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers Network, and a Cook Shire Councillor.
As the Managing Director of Yuku-Baja-Muliku Landowners & Reserves Ltd, I co-ordinate community and environmental programs such as the YBM Indigenous Land & Sea Ranger Program. I worked with our Elders, land trust members and my mentors to establish the foundational stones for Yuku Baja Muliku in 2007.
Since then, the programs we administer, and lead have grown significantly. Some of our largest programs operate through contributions of federal and state funding for the Indigenous Land & sea ranger program, but expanding out from that core work we were able to establish the YBM Junior ranger Program and the Archer Point Turtle Hospital, then in 2014 we established Kuku Bulkaway Indigenous Arts and carry original artworks from several local Aboriginal artists.
The YBM Ranger team manages 22500 hectares of land and adjacent sea country as part of the Yuku Baja Muliku Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. My role varies daily, ranging from facilitating workshops, attending meetings with government / partners - through to working with youth, Women Rangers, fighting wildfires or rescuing saltwater turtles.
Our team also works with scientists from a variety of universities and have comprehensive monitoring projects (biocultural) across our country. I have co-authored a paper with developers of the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI), with the aim to investigate the application of the CVI concept to assess impacts of climate change upon some of our key values. The project was the first attempt in Australia to trial the CVI process with First Nations people. By working with climate change scientists, we were able to develop a process that is Traditional Owner-centric and places our values, risk assessment, and risk mitigation and management within an established climate change assessment framework (the CVI framework).
I am a passionate advocate for women looking after country and in 2018 I started the Queensland Indigenous Women’s Rangers Network, (working with Indigenous women rangers from the Lake Eyre Basin to The Torres Strait Islands). This has been an amazing opportunity to look at career pathways and to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are as dedicated as I am about looking after their country and their culture.
A major part of what I fight for is to be able to look after our land, our people, and our future. Pride in our country is linked to caring for country and our people.
Family, community, and country have a strong hold on my heart. Combined they provided me with an idyllic childhood, which I now endeavour to continue for my children and the community by providing programs such as the YBM Junior Ranger Program that has both indigenous and non-indigenous all working together, breaking down barriers, to care for our environment and our communities.
Being passionate about the environment, reef and my culture I have taken on numerous leadership and advisory roles on national and international committees that help me to share and advocate for our region, our communities and our people at those much larger scales. I am currently in my second term as Cook Shire Councillor. Winner of the Earthshot Prize, Revive our Oceans Category 2022, and nominee for Women in Technology awards 2023. I also hold dual positions with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation as the Chair of the Traditional Owner Advisory Group and a Board Member for the Partnership Management Committee. This provides a space for me to champion for the Great Barrier Reef and to advocate for the inclusion of Reef Traditional Owners in management and care of their sea country. My love of the ocean also saw me being involved in the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Coral Sea Advisory committee and the International Islands Oceans Voices Committee.
I am passionate about the environment, my culture, art and the ongoing growth of Indigenous land and sea management, fishing, camping, gardening, and catching up with friends and family.