More than 300 students from 26 different schools across the Sunshine Coast came together today (May 10) to get outdoors, meet new friends and have fun as part of Sunshine Coast Council’s Kids in Action program.
Designed for students from Years 5-8, Kids in Action aims to increase children’s environmental knowledge and understanding, while inspiring and providing opportunities for positive environmental and sustainability action.
2019 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and in recognition of this, the 2019 Kids in Action theme is Connect to Country: Celebrating nature’s icons.
Sunshine Coast students are focusing on local species of flora or fauna and through Indigenous cultural and spiritual connections to Country as well as scientific knowledge, they will gain a deep understanding of the role those species play in the broader ecosystem.
The first part of Kids in Action 2019, Environmental Projects Day, took place at a number of venues across the Sunshine Coast.
Students started the morning with cultural heritage site tours at various locations like Buderim Forest Bushland Park, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and Dunethin Rock along the Maroochy River.
Guided by either Jinibara or Kabi Kabi Traditional Owners, students were led on walks around these culturally significant sites and learned about the local Indigenous history and the importance of the landmarks or nearby flora and fauna.
At Brannock’s Reserve in Landsborough, located on the boundary of Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Country, 300+ students gathered altogether for a rare joint Welcome to Country delivered by Jinibara Elder Uncle Noel Blair and Kabi Kabi representative Lyndon Davis.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay welcomed students, volunteers, sponsors and partners to the official launch of Kids in Action and said council was proud to support this award-winning program.
“This is the eighth year council has been proud to host this exciting program and it’s one of my favourite events of the year, having attended nearly every one,” said Cr McKay.
“I’m always so inspired to see our Sunshine Coast kids getting out into the environment, learning about the issues it faces, and then, most importantly, contributing to looking after it.
“With the Connection to Country theme this year, it’s wonderful to see the schools learn from both the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Traditional Owners about their culture and deep ecological knowledge.
“From today’s activities, students will go back to their schools and start working on a project that they will then present via workshop, interactive display or main stage presentation at the Kids in Action Conference in September.
“The Kids in Action program adopts a kids-teaching-kids approach to encourage students to be informed and become confident and capable citizens able to actively protect their environment.
“This is a program that effectively inspires and fosters our future environmental leaders and is aligned with council’s objective to achieve long-term cultural change in the way we look after and interact with our environment.
“It is wonderful to see so many young students come together, learn from each other and inspire one another to realise their aspirations for our natural environment.”
The Kids in Action Kids-Teaching-Kids Conference will be held on Wednesday, September 11.
Supporting sponsors and partners of Kids in Action are Unitywater, Kawana Shoppingworld, SeaLife Trust and Kids-Teaching-Kids.