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SARA Member Profile: Jae Ellis



1. What is your current Role and Location?

I am a Ranger in the South Metro District, based at Glenthorne National Park - Ityamaiitpinna Yarta. My primary role is the management of Sturt Gorge Recreation Park and Hallett Cove Conservation Park. As well as helping out with other parks in the district, particularly with the new GNPIY Playground open.

2. What attracted you to this career and how did you first become involved?

Ha ha ha… that goes waaaaaay back! The first interaction I had with a Ranger was when I was in kindy and went on an excursion to Belair National Park. A Ranger there gave me a wombat poster for answering a particular question. I went home that night and told my parents I wanted to be a Ranger… took a while and some false starts but back in 2007 I was lucky enough to be selected for the first full Graduate Ranger Program, and I’ve been a Ranger ever since!

The most attractive part of the role is the variety and flexibility of the role. Generally no two days are the same. There are new challenges, problems to solve, opportunities on offer and jobs to be done. I really enjoy the ridiculous amount of different skills and abilities needed and gained being a Ranger.

3. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Work based would be Connecting the next generation with environment and continuing to encourage this connection. And me personally, I have a bit of an obsession with finding out the history and importance of our protected areas and sharing this with visitors. I really believe that people don’t value what they don’t understand.

4. If you could change one thing about the job what would it be and why?

The bureaucracy…if we could cut down on how much administrative work we have to do imagine how dangerously effective we could be! I would absolutely love to see our Department embrace some of the technologies that are available to make this more efficient so we could get out on ground more…

5. What fun/learning have you had from a SARA event?

I still think back to the early days of SARA, to the AGM we held in the tiny hiking hut up at Dutchman’s Stern, with us all perched on the bunks, camp chairs crammed all over the floor and no technology…there was such a feeling of camaraderie and welcoming in that hut.

6. What is the funniest/most embarrassing thing to happen on the job?

Ohh there are so many to choose from! From the time I ripped the bum of my only pair of pants while on a camping trip to observe the land speed trials at Lake Gairdner to springing a couple who decided to get amorous up a tree at Morialta!

7. What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in the environmental field?

Be flexible in your expectations and absolutely build up those networking skills! This is one of the most valuable things SARA offers, the opportunity to meet and talk with people from all over the place, in so many varied roles. There is so much to be gained from these opportunities.


8. Favourite word

Susurrus… it’s a low soft sound, like the whispering of leaves or washing of small waves. I like how it sounds but also how it feels, the soft hiss is just nice.


9. Favourite quote

My favourite quote is from the author Sir Terry Pratchett’s book Thief of Time, and I feel it is so appropriate to many of our issues in Parks… “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-Of-The-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

10. Favourite animal

Thylacoleo carnifex - the original drop bear!

11. Top 3 SA Protected Areas

Gawler Ranges just gorgeous country up there…. Yellabinna Regional Reserve and Yumbarra Conservation Park are absolutely worth the trip!! Mark Oliphant, the flora and bird life there are absolutely fantastic, definitely worth a couple of hours wandering through

12. A place in SA that you consider special, underrated or not well known

Ewens and Piccaninnie Ponds in the South East. I had never seen anything like them when I visited and it’s hard to describe just how amazing I found it.

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