National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3, 2015) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. To explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.
In recognition of this event, we have invited Thea Nicholas from Cool Australia to introduce the concept of Cool Burning and the innovative professional development course designed to equip secondary Geography, Science and English teachers with the skills, knowledge and confidence to teach about the importance of Traditional Knowledge in caring for Country.
Australians know all too well about the devastating effects of fire on our country – its landscape and inhabitants. Less well known is the ancient land management strategy of ‘cool burning’ used by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years in Australia’s tropical savanna regions.
Cool Burning in the Australian Savanna
In Australia, almost 25% of the land is covered in tropical savanna. Each year in the late dry season, hot bushfires sweep through a large proportion of this area causing significant damage. These burns destroy everything in their path, including the vital forest canopy.
For tens of thousands of years, Indigenous Australians have actively managed the savanna using cool burning techniques. Their knowledge of the seasons and local conditions have enabled them to manage the land through the effective use of fire.
Traditional cool burning has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence and intensity of hot fires later in the dry season. This reduces the amount of damage done to ecosystems, shortens recovery time, promotes new growth, clears waste materials and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
There are also social and economic benefits. The re-introduction of traditional management practices has given many young Aboriginal Australians greater respect for their Elders, their wisdom and the knowledge that has been transmitted through the centuries.
Indigenous groups who own or manage their land can also create projects and employ young Aboriginal people to earn carbon credits. This generates a viable form of long-term income and enables young Aboriginal people to remain on their land.
New Cool Burning Online Professional Development Course for Teachers.
Indigenous land management is the perfect vehicle for meeting the cross-curriculum priorities of ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures’ and ‘Sustainability’.
Cool Australia has designed a new 2-hour online professional development course called Cool Burning to guide teachers as they develop their understanding of Indigenous land management practices. The course provides teachers with classroom-ready materials and is filled with supportive teaching tools including videos, graphs, additional reading materials and more. Teachers can also use these materials in their own classes.
Course cost: $89 (excl GST).
For further information and to enrol:
t: 1300 853 810
Cool Australia is an award-winning, not-for-profit organisation that provides educators and teachers with resources to help young people Learn for Life. For further information: www.coolaustralia.org
By Thea Nicholas
Curriculum Manager, Cool Australia