LOCAL rangers play a vital role in the sound stewardship of the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Solomon Islands, but have they been overlooked?
Community based resource management, sustainable development and conservation efforts of Solomon Islands Rangers have flown ‘under the radar’ for too long. Rangers, with support of civil society, are taking steps to create training and resourcing possibilities.
Henry Kaniki of The Nature Conservancy, and Albert Kwatelae of SI Community Conservation Partnership recently coordinated a meeting of Ranger and Ministry representatives, to develop a Constitution for Solomon Islands Rangers Association (SIRA), supported by and affiliated with the International Rangers Federation (IRF).
SIRA will be run by SI Rangers, and provide a platform for networking, training and development.
University of Queensland, with financial support of Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund will shortly offer a training programme for Rangers–in-the-field through SINU.
Additional funding from ‘the Thin Green Line’, the charity arm of IRF, enables Red Cross Fist Aid Training as a component of the programme.
Outgoing AVI volunteer with SICCP, Annie Knappstein has been inspired by the work of under-resourced, ‘invisible’ Rangers, and their further potential to maintain ecological integrity at their community and island level, enforce legislation, as educators, researchers, a resource for appropriate national development planning and as tourism ambassadors and guides.
Annie will embark on a 1400km bike ride and walk across France and Spain from 3rd September, with a target of raising AUD20,000 to support SIRA train, equip and build the status of rangers.
All costs for the ‘Ride and Stride for SI Rangers’ are being met by her.
Funds are being raised through on-line crowdfunding, corporate sponsorship and individual donation, now and over the estimated 10 weeks of her trip.
Annie’s contact with Tetepare, KIBCA (Kolombangara), Zaira (Vanganu), Biche (Gatokae) and Arnavon Rangers during her SICCP volunteer contract, made her acutely aware of the critical role they play in managing community resources in the face of logging, mining, expansion of subsistence and plantation agriculture, population increase, and impacts of climate change and variability.
SI businesses, NGO’s, Government Ministries and individuals are encouraged to demonstrate their environmental responsibility and commitment by sponsoring Annie in support of SI Rangers.