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News & Events >> December 2005


Earth Journeys Finish Year on a High

Page 39, Blue Mountains Gazette, 14 December 2005

     
earth journeys at york public schoolClick to Enlarge
     

The team from the Blue Mountains’ leading world heritage enviro-cultural education project have finished the year on a high having just been awarded an official 'Cultural Partnership' from the Blue Mountains City Council.

   

Project Manager Bronwen Maxwell, said “the partnership and funding from council will assist them in the further development of next year's program.

“ We are extremely grateful for Council's support,” said Ms Maxwell.

The cultural partnership follows on from Earth Journeys being a recent recipient of Keep Australia Beautiful (NSW) Sustainable Cities 2005 Award.

" Earth Journeys is also fortunate in having partnership support from the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, as well as support from a local business, Watson's Hardware, Blackheath" said Ms Maxwell.

After a highly successful and visible pilot project in 2004, involving 2,348 students from 16 primary public schools throughout the Blue Mountains, Earth Journeys recently completed a special pilot program at a primary school in the Penrith region.

Four hundred students from York Public spent a term participating in a specially created program developed by Earth Journeys in partnership with Penrith Schools District Department of Education and Training (DET) and supported by Penrith City Council.

The program included a 'Tree Story Introduction' with renowned mountain ecologist Wyn Jones and Chris Tobin ( Darug traditional owner), engaging children with stories told from an indigenous and non-indigenous perspective, about the school's “icon” gumtree, the grey box.

Another component of the program included Aboriginal Cultural Sharing, co-ordinated by Chris Tobin leading one-hour story and dance sessions for students.

These classes enabled students to experience, through the movement of their bodies, the creation story dance and stories of the creatures found in the local riverenvironment.

The enviro-art workshops component explores a fusion between the arts and sciences. Under the guidance of professional artist Heather Jones and environmentalist Christine Hill-Butler, the workshops culminated in the creation of innovative sculptural representations of the Grey Box gumtrees, the local river landscape eastern water dragons and long-necked turtles. The exhibition celebration took place during the school's annual public Christmas Market night.

Students in Years 5& 6 were involved in the Boundaries field trip to Euroka in the Blue Mountains World Heritage National Park at Glenbrook.

“The program run at York Public was a wonderful success,” said Ms Maxwell.

Earth Journeys aims to instil in students a 'sense of place' and a sense of wonder about the natural and cultural landscapes of this amazing and valuable world heritage environment in which we live.

journey of discovery team

Click to Enlarge

This Photo: A Journey of Discovery. Standing in front of one of the sculptural trees, a flowering grey box eucalypt, is the Earth Journeys team, from left: Bronwen Maxwell, Mike Chirgwin, Heather Jones, Chris Tobin, Christine Hill-Butler and Wyn Jones at the exhibition celebration at York Public School in the Penrith Schools District.

Photos: Keith Maxwell

For more information about Earth Journeys programs in primary schools phone 4787-5003


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