The ‘Kids on Country’ Program which is run by the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers got off to a flying start in 2011!
With some seed funding provided through Fauna & Flora International and the Coca Cola Australia Foundation and supported by the Burnett Mary Regional Group, the Department of Education and Training and Education Queensland, the team worked to develop a curriculum based on the culturally significant Bunya Mountains in South East Queensland, before trialling activities with schools.
Between April and June, the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers attended Wheatland’s, Murgon and Moffatdale State Schools conducting workshops with students and teachers. Feedback was extremely positive, with students and rangers thoroughly enjoying the workshops.
The workshops were used as an introduction to the Bunya Mountains and Murri Ranger Program as well as identifying native flora and fauna as part of the lesson plan. The rangers were accompanied by Felicity Evans, Department of Education and Training and Zela Bissett from Education Queensland.
Steve McCarthy, Murri Ranger Coordinator, gave talks on the ‘Elements of the Forest’ and ‘Animals of the Bunya Mountains’. The students were given the option of what they wanted to learn more about on future visits to the school.
Similar visits are planned for the latter half of the year, with future plans to visit schools in the North Burnett, Darling Downs and Toowoomba region.
The school curriculum for the ‘Kids on Country’ program was formally endorsed by the Bunya Mountains Elders Council at their meeting in Wondai in August.
“Fauna & Flora International is committed to working with local communities to conserve biodiversity and we see the Kids on Country program as being one way of building partnerships for the future as well as reconnecting Indigenous youth to Country,” said Jack Whelan, Executive Director for Fauna & Flora International Australia.
Now that the curriculum has been finalised and endorsed, there are a number of exciting new opportunities arising including a ‘Junior Rangers’ program that is under development. Junior Rangers will be specifically aimed at engaging a small group of Indigenous high school students looking for career pathways in Natural Resource Management.
“The Kids on Country program allows us to build bridges and understanding between our Indigenous and non-indigenous community which is reconciliation in action,” said Mal Collinge, Chair of the Bunya Mountains Elders Council, adding “The long term aims of the program will also help generate more indigenous employment – Closing the Gap.”