Cultural trail for young Australians

Pre-schoolers in childcare at James Cook University’s Townsville campus will get a new appreciation of Australia’s plant life from today.

Two new Indigenous Cultural plant trails have been launched next to JCU early childcare centres as part of the Connecting Kids to Country program.

The program – an initiative of JCU’s TropEco and JCU Early Learning Centres – is up and running thanks to a grant from Bank Australia.

JCU has worked closely with local Indigenous Elder Uncle Russell Butler to develop the trails and new signage to help educate children about the cultural significance of plants and animals to local Indigenous Traditional Owners.

Adam Connell, Manager, Environment at JCU’s Estate Directorate, said the Connecting Kids to Country program had already enhanced the local environment with the planting of hundreds of native shrubs around the two early childhood centres.

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“The new initiative will engage over 150 children and the local community by providing ecosystem restoration, local Indigenous teaching and storytelling, and developing a bush tucker garden through hands-on learning with JCU environmental experts and Indigenous Elders,” he said.

Michelle Eaton, Branch Manager at Bank Australia Townsville, said the organisation was proud to support the initiative.

“Increasing awareness and celebrating the knowledge, culture and histories of our First Peoples is an important step in the journey towards reconciliation, an issue our customers care deeply about,” she said.

Ms Eaton said each year the bank invested 4% of its after-tax profits in its Impact Fund to support programs that create positive change for people and the planet, or create mutual prosperity.

Bindal Elder Aunty Dorothy Savage gave a Welcome to Country ceremony to launch the trail.

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Bank Australia is support the Connecting Kids to Country program with $8000 through its 2018 Customer Grants program.

JCU would like to thank the local Bindal and Wulgurukaba Traditional Owners for sharing their cultural knowledge to make this project possible.

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