Sunshine Coast Kids in Action Program wins 2020 Queensland Reconciliation Awards

Last modified at Mon 8 Jun 2020

Sunshine Coast Kids in Action Program wins 2020 Queensland Reconciliation Awards

Sunshine Coast Council’s 2019 Kids in Action program has been recognised for the role it played in building deeper connections between the Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations people and our region’s children, by winning the Queensland Reconciliation Award for partnership.

The Queensland Reconciliation Awards recognise initiatives undertaken by businesses, community organisations, educational institutions and government going above and beyond their core business to foster reconciliation and pave the way for a better future for our state.

Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations community members partnered with the Kids in Action program to deliver a program underpinned by ecological knowledge, language and cultural practice, connecting to country and celebrating nature's icons. 

Feedback from the judging panel highlighted that through the program, in a true act of reconciliation, partnerships were strengthened, respectful and reciprocal relationships embraced, and a commitment to ongoing opportunities for shared learning and understanding fostered.

Funded by council’s Environment Levy and sponsorship including Kawana Shoppingworld, Unitywater and Sea Life Trust, Kids in Action partners with many local community groups, and is offered to all Sunshine Coast primary and secondary schools.

The Kids in Action program has always partnered with First Nations people by including Indigenous perspectives in the program content, however in 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages encouraged the program to deepen connections with Sunshine Coast First Nations communities. 

Through the year’s theme – Connecting to Country: Celebrating nature’s icons – schools were encouraged to choose a native species (plant or animal) significant to their school and through connecting with and learning from their local Traditional Custodians across Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Countries, develop a deep understanding of the ecological role and cultural significance of their species. 

Under the guidance of local Traditional Custodians, students learnt about their iconic species, they learnt language and they began a journey towards becoming passionate custodians of Country.
Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the 2019 Kids in Action program received praise from the participating teachers and schools for the way it created a stronger connection to our First Nations community.

“This strong partnership will continue into the 2020 program - in a revised format this year due to COVID-19 - and beyond,” Cr Law said. 

“In the feedback council received, teachers expressed an increased feeling of respect and appreciation for the importance of Indigenous people and their knowledges and pedagogies and were grateful for the new connections made.

“I’d also like to offer my congratulations to the Beulah Community Limited, from the Sunshine Coast, who won the community category for the First People’s Memorial Garden in the Buderim Forest Nature Refuge.”
Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox congratulated the team for their strong partnership.

“Congratulations to all of the Kids in Action partners in creating a program which creates a stronger connection to country, engages our youth in becoming future custodians of our natural environment, and is consistent with council’s aspirational vision for the Sunshine Coast to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”

In total, 257 students, 24 schools, 145 teachers/adults, 19 First Nations mentors, seven youth leaders and 23 volunteers attended five events throughout the year.

More information on Beulah Community Limited 
Beulah Community Limited established the First People's Memorial Garden in 2009 in response to a request from a First Nations Peoples health provider to partake in Sorry Business and install memorial plaques at Beulah's centre in Buderim Forest Nature Refuge. Paths, sitting places and artworks by various local First Nations artists have been steadily added since.

A First Peoples War Memorial was installed in 2015 and in 2017, a Frontier Wars Installation featuring artworks by several local First Nations artists was built. A statue of the local resistance leader, Dundalli, was added in 2018. Annual gatherings are held on Anzac Day to remember Frontier Wars, on 5 January to remember Dundalli and on Elders Day to remember the local Elders.

Kids in action program information
The 2019 Kids in Action Program included:

1. Environmental Projects Day:  
Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Traditional Custodians were contracted to:

  • Lead seven guided bus tours at culturally significant sites 
  • deliver eight cultural experience workshops at Brannoch’s Reserve, Landsborough including dance, stone knapping, rope making, firestick farming, dance, boomerang and spear throwing, fishing/net making.

2. Teacher Professional Development                                                                                                
Professional development workshops for teachers from across SEQ and Northern NSW.

3. Kids-Teaching-Kids Conference

  • More than 300 students from 22 Sunshine Coast schools presented their projects to their peers and mentors, which were the culmination of many weeks working with and being mentored by Sunshine Coast First Nations people.
  • Projects included: using traditional dance to tell stories about the life of the black cockatoo, imagining Jinibara language to replace stolen words for endangered species (quoll), rethinking modern foods using bush tucker ingredients (lemon myrtle lemonade), representing iconic species using traditional painting techniques (guided by protocol), incorporating Kabi Kabi knowledge of eels into understanding global migration patterns.

Join the conversation: #scckidsinaction