BeachTeach Goes Bush!

10 Jan 2013

BeachTeach Director, Kate Kilgour, spends a month in the Northern Territory facilitating a regional sustainability education project in the Barkly Region.

I was lucky enough to be selected by the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation to complete my final Teaching Practicum in the Barkly Region of the NT during October and November 2012. Working with a primary colleague, Chris Powys, with local Indigenous Elders, and with Local Rangers, we designed an environmental education project to be run across a number of schools in the Barkly. 

The project engaged primary and secondary school students in surveying and evaluating the health of local ecosystems. We worked with students and local Indigenous Elders to develop Local Flora and Fauna Identification Apps on school iPads. We then used these to survey various aspects of the local environment. Data was collated and evaluated for each site. Students were able to compare and contrast data from each of the three schools/environments surveyed (some natural and some man-made).

We developed a bank of lessons around this project. For example, students in Elliott School conducted activities collecting cans in the local area and using the money received to buy resources for the school. Students in Tennant Creek High presented their findings in a range of ways including news reports, tourism posters and debates. The project was used to boost students' literacy and numeracy skills, and placed a significant value on local Indigenous language and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. 

With funding from the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, each of the schools involved in the project were provided with an Enviro Ed Kit with all the equipment, information, survey booklets, lessons and contacts to ensure long term success of the project. 

Projects such as this are what drives me. Whether in remote Indigenous communities or Bondi Beach, there is a significant need to engage students in real life science by making it fun, achievable and meaningful. 

Kate Kilgour | BeachTeach Founder