Hey Junior Rangers,
My name is Ebonee Cook, I’m a Wadawurrung woman and I work on Country as a Community Engagement Ranger. Even though I work across the Geelong Area, I spend most of my time at the You Yangs and Serendip Sanctuary. I love my job because every day I get to connect with culture, educate the next generation about caring for Country and share knowledge with Junior Rangers and school students. It’s so much fun and really rewarding.
My favourite park is Youang, the Wadawurrung name for You Yangs Regional Park. Have you been there before? It’s a place on Wadawurrung Country where I feel strongly connected to my ancestors and to Elders who have walked before me. All around the park, I see evidence of their sustainable lifestyle and the ways that they have cared for and lived in harmony with Country through time.
Eb, what made you want to become a Ranger?
My brother worked as a Ranger with Parks Victoria for many years. Seeing him in his career is what made me look for Ranger jobs. I love the environment, being outside and helping people learn, and becoming a Community Engagement Ranger meant that I could combine all those things. The most important thing for me though was finding a job where I could spend all day working on and caring for Country.
Is there someone special who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from Wadawurrung people and other First Nation’s people. I feel very lucky to follow the footsteps of Elders and I acknowledge their strength and connection has allowed me to be able to walk on Country educating others. To learn more about Wadawurrung people and our culture, check out the Wadawurrung website.
My Husband, Mum and colleague, Ness, are also a huge inspiration for me. They are always supporting me and encouraging me to succeed.
Do you have a favourite animal?
Choosing a favourite animal is tough! Koalas, wombats and echidnas are so cute, but nothing beats that special feeling you get when you see Bundjil the eagle (and creator spirit) soaring over Country.
What about a favourite plant?
That’s tough too! It’s a tie between banksias, who have special adaptations to bushfires, Billy Buttons, with their golden globes in the grasslands, and River Red Gums, who have major WOW factor.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
I’m a pretty creative person and I love nature, so in my free time I like to make flower arrangements. Floristry really lets my creative side shine. I love hearing stories of how Junior Rangers express their creative sides too.
When I’m not busy playing with flowers, I like to muck around with my two pups. Drax is a Maremma cross, and Rocket is a German Shephard. They have so much energy and need a lot of walks!
Do you have any final tips for Junior Rangers?
Do you know whose Country you live and play on, Junior Rangers? If you don’t, you should find out! It’s up to all of us to care for Country and to help Country heal. You can help by planting new trees and flowers, picking up rubbish and leaving things in nature as you find them. I really hope that you’ll join me and my mates on a Discovering Country activity at Big Rock next holidays. See you soon, Junior Rangers! 😊