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Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger

Laura Pearson is celebrating more than a decade of caring for land and sea with the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).

She never expected to become – and love – being a ranger.

After graduating from high school in Cairns, Laura considered a navy or marine science career, but at the request of her parents returned to her home community of Warraber at the age of 17.

While raising her children, she joined TSRA as one of the first female rangers in 2012.

Now she is the Central Cluster Senior Ranger Supervisor and oversees eight staff across the islands of Poruma (Coconut), Iama (Yam) and Warraber (Sue).

Proudly Kulkalaig (Central cluster) born and raised, she credits her family as her motivation.

Her parents are respected Elders in the Kulkalgal region, cultural advisors and mentors to the community of Warraber.

They worked in various jobs – from church pastor and healthcare worker to carpenter, traditional gardener, fisherman and crayfisher – to raise Laura, her three brothers and two sisters.

“When you have strong support from families, communities and being brought up with brothers you will have the mentality that ‘I can do this’ – male or female – we are at the same level,” Ms Pearson said.

“There is a cultural expectation that women can’t do this type of work, but I have the skills and qualifications to do what the men are doing.

“We as women know our limits, but we set the limits, no one else.

“I have strong people on both sides of my family, including strong grandmothers, aunties, grandfathers and uncles who know the seasons and tides.

“They were prepping us for the future back then, even before the Torres Strait had an international shipping lane or the phrase ‘climate change’ was around,” she said.

Laura also looks up to Larissa Hale and the Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers Network for motivation.

“It is inspiring to see women leading activities On Country around Cooktown, including traditional burning, stories in art work and turtle rehabilitation for the betterment of First Nations people,” she said.

“TSRA has invested in us with training to complete our jobs safely and in using our traditional knowledge together with research databases.

“We are supported to grow a better understanding of how both worlds – traditional knowledge and Western science – work hand in hand to achieve better outcomes for the natural and cultural resources for the region of Torres Strait.

“My favourite part of this job is helping people, including Elders to revive our language, cultural practices and maintain our culture knowledge, as we face climate change impacts.

“We explain what’s happening and reassure them we are doing our best to protect and maintain our islands and cultural knowledge.

“I want my great, great grandkids to enjoy what I’m experiencing now in this world.”

The proud mother of two hopes more parents and caregivers – especially women – consider ranger careers.

“We have to be there through thick and thin for the development of our future. Not just my family, or your family, but the future of all Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people,” she said.

“Go for it, if you’ve been thinking for a few years now, just put your name in and apply.

“You will grow, and you will glow in your community with a supportive team ready to back you up.

“You’re never too old to learn new things, new skills and gain understanding.

“There is always a right time and a right place, be yourself and ready to challenge yourself for this may be your calling.”

To young women, she offers the same advice she gives her now 19-year-old daughter – a top recruit in her navy cohort.

“Finish school and aim high to represent your family, your island and your people,” she said.

“My daughter is living her dream and also fulfilling mine.”

Love caring for land, sea and culture? Be a TSRA Ranger.

Apply by Sunday 2 April 2023 at https://tsra.nga.net.au

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

  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger
  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger
  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger
  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger
  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger
  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger
  • Laura Pearson finds true calling as TSRA Ranger

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