South Coast Natural Resource Management’s 2021/2022 Noongar Kaartdijin (Noongar Knowledge) In-Schools program has wrapped-up with 15 successful Cultural awareness events led by Noongar Elders and Cultural educators for Great Southern students.

The Noongar Kaartdijin program is supported by funding from the State Natural Resource Management Program and Commonwealth Bank Foundation Community Grants, to extend Cultural awareness for students and teachers.

Knowledge on bushfoods, Noongar language and stories from 14 Cultural educators was shared with 431 students, 106 staff and 22 parents across 13 schools in the region from Bremer Bay to Frankland River, extending from Gnowangerup to Albany.

Along with providing Cultural knowledge, the project linked with 20 landcare professionals from eight organisations who demonstrated the connection between natural resource management and Caring for Country from growing and planting native seedlings to catchment protection.

A local highlight was the Year 7 North Albany Senior High School students’ excursions to the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps led by Vernice Gillies, Noongar Elder and Larry Blight, Noongar educator from Kurrah Mia Tours. Larry and Mrs Gillies guided eager students to safely try bush foods that grow around the reserve and shared details of the engineering, regional Cultural significance, and protection of the fish traps.

NASHS is planning to continue the experience of the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps as an annual excursion for Year 7 students and one teacher noted “Hard to fault! Larry and Vernice are such valuable community members”.

“Larry and I had the opportunity on two occasions, to speak to the NASHS Year 7 students about the importance of our unique Fish Traps as part of the Noongar Kaartdijin program. To be able to talk about the history of the area and show the students bush food, medicine and soap plants was enjoyable and fun. We like to spread the information across a wide variety of ages, and we hope that will help more people not only learn about the site but value and care for the Fish Traps. That’s a job for all of us to do,” said Vernice Gillies of Kurrah Mia Tours.

South Coast NRM is seeking funding to extend the reach of the Noongar Kaartdijin program and schools that are keen to connect with local Noongar Elders, educators and Cultural education resources from our region.

For more information contact Natalie Reeves, South Coast NRM’s Projects Leader on 9845 8537 (e)