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Learning on country re-energises Canberra students

The first FLO graduates The first FLO graduates

Seventeen enthusiastic students aged 16-18 are the first graduates of an innovative new education program developed by our Canberra team.

Greening Australia’s new Flexible Learning Options provide students with a rare chance to learn on country about Aboriginal culture and the traditional uses of native plants.

“Through our Flexible Learning Options, students gain credit towards their school programs while acquiring skills in environmental management. Sessions have included seed collecting, nursery propagation, plant identification, cultural heritage site identification, protection and management, and knowledge sharing,” says Adam Shipp, Greening Australia’s Indigenous Training and Development Officer.

FLO students pricking out Yam Daisies in our Canberra Nursery FLO students pricking out Yam Daisies in our Canberra Nursery

“I believe there is a lot of value in teaching our youth out on country.  It gives them a chance to learn life skills in a natural and different setting. Through this program I have seen students go from quiet, shy individuals to confident young adults willing to learn and ask questions.”

The new approaches to learning were piloted with ACT Education and ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development last year.

“We have found that although many of our students are from an Indigenous background, the programs are equally appealing to non-indigenous students. Some of our students have been previously disengaged from school but getting out of the classroom and into the bush has re-engaged them and provided the perfect setting for them to learn important cultural and vocational skills.”

FLO graduates posing with their certificates alongside a local scar tree. FLO graduates posing with their certificates alongside a local scar tree.

“I enjoyed myself the whole time! Just being able to experience the program was the best part,” said a graduate of the course.

“Due to the success of our pilot programs, we are excited that the ACT Government has committed to funding Flexible Learning Options out on country for four years. The new units will enable students from Years 5 through to 12 to develop additional skills and knowledge that will enhance their employability and increase life choices.”

Greening Australia would like to thank Aunty Violet Sheridan, Thunderstone and Murrumbung rangers from the ACT Parks and Conservation Service for assisting with the facilitation of a number of sessions.

If you are a student or parent in the ACT and would like to find out more, contact Adam Shipp (02) 6253 3035