An initiative between Wattleridge Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), NCC Firesticks and local schools around Guyra NSW recently delivered an engaging and interactive learning program that connected children with Aboriginal elders, IPA Rangers and the local environment using storytelling, on-ground learning and arts and crafts. Around 100 children and accompanying teachers visited the property over three days spending time learning how the Banbai Nation value and use local plants and animals and developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of their local environment.
The objective was to help build capacity and resources for schools to access the IPA to learn about Aboriginal land management practices, culture and the importance of the IPA’s for protection of biodiversity and threatened species. Firesticks ecologist David Milledge shared with the children some of the animals found during seasonal monitoring surveys at Wattleridge. IPA Senior Ranger Leslie Patterson showed the children some of the plants that are found on the property that are important to the Banbai Nation.
The New England Tableland Region where Wattleridge IPA is located has a long history of dispossession, land-clearing and fragmentation which has resulted in a drastic loss of cultural connections and language as well as impacts on native species. The local schools around Guyra have a mixture of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children from farming backgrounds and the local townships. There is a great need and interest both from the schools, the local Aboriginal community and Wattleridge IPA to restore cultural connections, pass down knowledge to younger generations and raise recognition of the regional significance of Wattleridge IPA for its biodiversity, threatened species and cultural significance.
From these workshops educational resources have been developed that will be linked into the school curriculum, such as the Wattleridge Seasonal Calendar.
The Firesticks Project wish to thank the Banbai Nation, Wattleridge IPA Rangers, Guyra Pre-School, Black Mountain Public School, Bald Blair School, Michelle McKemey, David Milledge and Waminda Parker for supporting this initiative.
We hope you enjoy the short video and consider similar initiatives in your local area to connect all communities to country.