Port Augusta based wildlife officer Christine Arnold has been recognised by the South Australian Ranger Association with an ‘In The Ranger Spirit’ award on World Ranger Day.
Introduced for the first time this year, the ‘In The Ranger Spirit’ award is designed to celebrate South Australian rangers who have shown commitment to protecting our environment.
Christine has been selected as a recipient for her work in mentoring fellow staff in the Kangaroo Management Program and her ongoing support of the Thin Green Line Foundation.
Growing up Papua New Guinea, Christine’s passion for the environment was sparked from a young age.
“From a childhood in a tropical country that had no TV, I’ve always been interested in the environment — playing with tadpoles, drawing trees and maps,” she said.
“A high school geography trip into the Flinders Ranges really fuelled my interest.”
As a wildlife officer, Christine works on the Kangaroo Management Plan and is involved in the annual aerial kangaroo count which is the longest running wildlife survey in the southern hemisphere. Making sure her knowledge of the environment is passed down to future generations, she has taken on a mentoring roll to ensure younger staff continue the count in future years.
Christine said trainees need strong stomachs, a keen interest in observing wildlife and the ability to be able to hold numbers in their head for up to 7 hours a day.
“The aerial count is tricky as it involves overcoming motion sickness and ignoring aircraft radio noises to concentrate on scanning the ground for kangaroos while travelling at 185 kilometres and hour, only 76 metres above the ground,” she said.
“I hope empathy and my sense of humour helps them (trainees) feel less anxious in their early days.”
Christine’s passion for the environment and her fellow human is also evident in her fundraising efforts with the Thin Green Line Foundation, a charity which provides training and equipment to rangers in less-developed countries, as well as support for rangers injured at work and their families.
She organised a fundraising event which saw over $5000 raised for the foundation.
Christine plans to continue her work as a wildlife officer well into the future, including her involvement in the kangaroo management plan.