by Pete Lumos Wyatt
Rangers are not police or event security, we are simply participants who volunteer a portion of our time in service of the safety and well-being of the community. Rangers act as non-confrontational community mediators, providers of reliable information, facilitators of public safety and navigators of the edge of chaos. Some say Rangers are the lube for social intercourse.
Apart from saving the world what does a Ranger do?
Well mostly it is about education and being a walking source of information
As a ranger I find the most common questions are:
- Where am I?
- Where is the closest toilet?
- Where is lost and found?
- Where is the good music?
This is why it helps to always have your map in your pocket.
When walking the dirt I am the eyes and ears of the Ranger lead, so I am looking for:
- People who may need assistance
- MOOP issues, like all participants, we solve them if we can
- Art cars and other vehicles doing silly things, like driving on the marked footpaths and cycleways
- General health and safety stuff
- People camping in the marked ‘no camping’ areas (often river beds etc)
- Illegal fires on the ground (they must be off the ground and contained).
While we try to have a standard-ish Ranger manual, local customisation always occurs, especially with names. Here in New Zealand we are known as Black Sheep Rangers, and our shift lead is known as Karkariki (a local parrot).
Next stop for me this year was Blazing Swan in Western Australia, where Rangers are named after the prominent local landmark and the population is almost double the size of Kiwiburn. Jilakin Rock Rangers call the shift lead, Black Swan (yes these guys do have serious swan issues, their Effigy even always seems to feature a swan).
To help train local volunteers and provide more ready trained Rangers, the event encourages experienced Rangers from around the world to join them on the dirt, so I jumped at the chance to learn more and walk the dirt with them.
It turns out that despite those swan issues, they are a really well organised and switched on Ranger team and I loved becoming part of the Swan Ranger family. Because of the cold temperature overnight (not quite freezing), burn barrels are a popular place to gather late at night / early morning, and one of our rangering jobs is to keep an eye out for burn barrels left unattended once everybody heads off to sleep or home. We call it in to Black swan and I even got to join the fire team one morning to put one of those fires out with the hose on the fire tender.
A burn barrel is also a good place to find lost and disoriented participants who need help to get home or to the next party.
Blessings in the dust – Lumos