(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Samantha Jonscher) ABC West Coast SA
June 04, 2018 06:14:22
Schoolchildren learn new skills in the South Australian bush as part of a new program.
“I haven’t been out bush for a very long time and I miss it — it feels good,” Shontayah, 12, said. One student takes advantage of rare mobile signal. “They know their culture, and we just reinforce that identity and self-esteem through nature activities.Different kinds of knowledge”No technology is one of the most challenging things for them — away from mobile phones,” Ms Perry, said. Photo:
There isn’t reception at Hiltaba — for the most part. “The stuff they learn out here isn’t something they can learn in the classroom,” said Kenny Smith, who spent an evening with students preparing kangaroo tail and wombat bush tucker. Kids on Country, run by the Nature Foundation SA, takes students to Hiltaba or Witchelina nature reserves for week of culturally appropriate conservation activities and hands-on learning with Aboriginal elders, Indigenous rangers and science educators. The Nature Foundation arranged for Indigenous rangers to visit the camp and teach the students how to maintain rock holes.Once dug out and filled with water, rocks and branches are placed across their surface to prevent evaporation. “It was fun. “There’s an Aboriginal story, there’s a palaeontological story, there’s a geological story. The organisers also hope that interacting with Indigenous rangers will give interested students an idea of the land and conservation-based careers that might be available to them. They also listened to presentations on animal identification, palaeontology and geology.The camp brings together different kinds of activities in the hope that the students will come away with a deeper, nuanced understanding of the land. (ABC Eyre Peninsula: Samantha Jonscher)
“First they have to connect to their culture, and figure who they are, and then go outside the square to see more,” said Cheryl Rothwell, who was brought in to assist with running the camp.”Just by them being here, and going out and walking on the country, and using their other senses — their ears and their eyes — they are learning.” The students, aged 12-14, all agreed that there were two highlights — sitting around the campfire and getting their hands dirty cleaning rock holes. Photo:
Time around the campfire is spent talking about the importance of country, identity and pride in culture. (ABC Eyre Peninsula: Samantha Jonscher)
Mr Mills emphasised that the camp was about learning to make connections in the landscape between different kinds of knowledge. (ABC Eyre Peninsula: Samantha Jonscher)
But for a lot of the students it was just fun to get out of the classroom and into the bush. (ABC Eyre Peninsula: Samantha Jonscher)
“It’s interesting because we don’t listen to people in Ceduna, we just all sit down on our phones and we don’t listen until we go camping,” Tahnee, 12, said. We hope to connect them.”Through activities like fence removals and maintenance of rock holes, culturally significant sites designed to capture rain water. Sitting around the campfire listening to the older people tell stories — to listen to their stories their parents told them, and their parents told them,” 12-year-old Daryll said. Children across South Australia are venturing into the bush to connect with land and Aboriginal culture as part of an ongoing program that turns the outback into a classroom. “A couple of the girls were worried about their snapchat streaks.”The camp layers the knowledge of traditional owners and Aboriginal connections to country, with STEM education. Photo:
Bordering the Gawler Ranges, Hiltaba Nature Reserve occupies 780 square kilometres. (ABC Eyre Peninsula: Samantha Jonscher)
“It’s a learning experience that connects them back to nature, taking them away from home and taking them out here to experience this fabulous place,” said program coordinator Katie Perry. For the program’s third camp 16 students from nearby Ceduna spent a week at Hiltaba, just north of the Gawler Ranges on the Eyre Peninsula, working to return the former station to its natural state while also learning about the natural environment through the lens of Aboriginal connection to country. Focus on cultureEach camp program is developed in close association with traditional owners. Photo:
Children work by the side of an ancient rock hole used for capturing water. “It’s about the connections they make to the story of the land — and there are lots of different ways of doing that: through the cultural stuff, but also through the science stuff,” said Nature Foundation facilitator Michael Mills
Activities like bird watching are included to help students understand how ecosystems work.