Land traditions cool for school

The devastating bushfires that swept through NSW at the end of 2019 and into 2020 have taught us the importance of respecting the land and of learning from the traditional owners about being responsible for, and caring for, country.

That makes it essential for us to learn more about cool burning, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land management practice.

To that end, Cool Australia has created free cool burning teaching resources, Traditional Land Management Using Fire: How First Nations Peoples Manage and Care for Country.

The program is designed to teach students about the importance of traditional knowledge of caring for country. The resources allow teachers to learn from Indigenous owners about how they use fire techniques to manage the land.

Each lesson includes video content featuring John Daly, an Aboriginal land manager from Fish River, who works with scientists and farmers to reduce the effects of bushfires and to protect communities.

The cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, culture and sustainability are covered, and the material includes links to the specific learning areas of the Australian Curriculum.

The resources consist of seven primary and 13 secondary lessons, including Cool Burning Flipped Classroom Year 7–10, in which students explore how cool burning relates to biodiversity and how its use can improve and conserve that biodiversity.

As one of the teacher testimonials from the Cool Australia website states: “All of the resources are up to date, of the highest standard and quality, and all accessible from the one site, you don’t have to search for hours for just one good resource; they’re all right there.”

Cool Australia also offers two professional development courses, Teaching Caring for Country using Fire for primary teachers, and for secondary Teaching Indigenous Land management using Fire.

The digital library for the courses contains videos, images, fact sheets and news articles.