Noongar culture class back in Great Southern schools for 2021

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Kimberley Gray providing an incursion on bush food and fire for Years 1-6 at Walpole Primary School.
Camera IconKimberley Gray providing an incursion on bush food and fire for Years 1-6 at Walpole Primary School.

A program that fosters relationships between Noongar cultural educators and primary school students across the region will return for 2021 after a successful trial.

South Coast NRM’s Noongar Kaartdijin pilot program ran from 2018-20, before it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, a State NRM grant will help the program expand to engage up to 23 schools this year.

Many of the schools in the trial will extend their program to include secondary school students.

Noongar Kaartdijin (knowledge) brings in Aboriginal elders, educators and volunteer presenters in a caring for country program with a mix of incursions and excursions.

South Coast NRM’s Sustainable Communities Program leader Karen Herlihy said it gave students valuable knowledge and experience of Aboriginal culture.

“Students will see evidence of 70,000 years of Noongar habitation, identify and taste bush foods, hear and share traditional stories, learn Noongar language and how Noongars care for boodjar,” she said.

“Excursions will incorporate hands-on activities that manage natural resources including planting, seed collection, hand pulling weeds and surveying animals.

“Through excursions, this hands-on experience will increase teachers and students’ knowledge of traditional ecological practice of land care, and enhance their connections to local elders, academics and NRM volunteer groups.”

Students will also be involved in in creating new artworks for interpretive signage at the Lake Pleasant View site for tourists and visitors.

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