Located in Dareton, Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment Team (BMEET) is an organisation established by Barkindji and Maraura Elders to provide culturally appropriate training and employment in cultural and natural resource management of country for the young people of their communities.

The organisation also aims to provide a pathway out of social welfare, crime, drugs and alcohol through meaningful and appropriate employment.

BMEET is made up of a team staff, some of whom, are learning to be Rangers. The Ranger team does work ‘on country’, including looking after the Fletcher’s Lake Reserve and they also undertake projects on Council and Crown land and private property where they may undertake pest and weed control.

The team also carry out cultural heritage assessments and are responsible for looking after culturally sensitive Aboriginal sites in the region.

BMEET’s Dareton office is also home to a wonderful art gallery which has some amazing work on display. It is definitely worth the trip to Dareton to have a look at the beautiful art and craft that has been created by local Aboriginal artists.

BMEET acting CEO Jayne Sunbird said: “All of the work on display here has been painted or made by local Aboriginal artists and there really isn’t anywhere else in Sunraysia that really has a selection of locally produced Aboriginal art like we have here at BMEET.”

“We also have another team of people who are part of the BEEP − Better Education and Employment Pathways program which is designed to help with education and sees the team visiting local schools in an effort to improve attendance levels,” Ms Sunbird said.

“The BEEP program also conducts art workshops. We have Aboriginal artists who work with some of the local kids, while some of the Elders come in to work with the kids as well, teaching them more about their culture.
“Mildura’s Indie College comes here and conducts their literacy and numeracy training and that is for both the BMEET staff and members of the community.”

Ms Sunbird said that people are welcome to visit the gallery, which is open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday and by appointment on weekends or after hours.

“We welcome bus tours and other groups and we can arrange for them to visit at a time that suits their schedule,” she said.

“We are now able to have groups visit, ensuring that all of the COVIDsafe protocols are in place.
“For more information and to arrange a visit people are welcome to contact BMEET on 50 274 073 and we can make arrangements.”