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Celebrating environment champions in the Torres Strait for International Day for Women and Girls in Science

Laura Pearson at Biosecurity Forum

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) is celebrating the knowledge and contribution of women in its workforce for International Day for Women and Girls in Science (11 February).

Scientists, natural resource officers and rangers in TSRA’s Land and Sea Management Unit are among local women championing conservation and sustainability in the Torres Strait in northern Australia. It is a region rich in culture, language and environmental treasures including turtle, dugong, seagrass and birdlife.

Senior Ranger Supervisor – Central Cluster and Masig, Laura Pearson said Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) handed down by Elders was still widely practiced alongside modern science.

“I have strong people on both sides of my family, including strong grandmothers who know the seasons and tides,” Ms Pearson said.

“Back then we didn’t have the term ‘climate change’ or an international shipping lane in the Torres Strait, yet our Elders knew to prepare us for the challenges ahead.

“Our strong grandmothers, they knew the seasons, the tides and were prepping us for the future.

“We didn’t understand as children, but now we appreciate what they were showing us.

“I want my great grandkids to see a Wongai tree, this is why I love being in the TSRA Ranger Program as it sees both worlds – traditional and western – working together for our children’s future.”

This year, TSRA celebrates its 30th Anniversary and the resilience, achievements and aspirations of the region.

Established on 1 July 1994, TSRA is a statutory body and the lead Commonwealth agency in the Torres Strait for Indigenous Affairs, operating under the direction of an elected Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Board.

As one of the most remote Australian Public Service agencies, TSRA supports programs across the Torres Strait region, including for the 17 inhabited islands of the Torres Strait and the communities of Bamaga and Seisia in the Northern Peninsula Area of mainland Australia.

For more information about the TSRA visit www.tsra.gov.au or follow us on Facebook.

Fast Facts

  • The Torres Strait stretches 150 kilometres northwards from Cape York Peninsula to Papua New Guinea.
  • The 48,000 km² area includes more than 270 islands and reefs.
  • TSRA’s Land and Sea Management Unit delivers the Environmental Management Program.
  • The TSRA Ranger Program started in 2009 with one ranger group on Mabuiag and has grown to 13 Ranger groups across 14 Torres Strait communities (13 islands) – supporting 55 ranger roles.
  • Women make up about a third of TSRA’s ranger workforce with a record number of 19 female rangers, up from 8 previously.
  • Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle (green, hawksbill, loggerhead, flatback, leatherback and olive ridley turtles) feed, nest and/or migrate through Torres Strait.
  • The Torres Strait has some of the largest and most diverse seagrass meadows in the world.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.