The Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation (NBRF) has helped kickstart an innovative education experience that is inspiring school students to learn about the Noosa Biosphere.
The Noosa Environmental Education Hub (Noosa EEHub) received seed funding from the NBRF to pilot its nature-based programs that immerse young people in Noosa Biosphere Reserve education.
"Students learn outdoors in nature about the ecosystems that are unique to where they live, and can physically engage in the natural biosphere," said Dalia Mikhail, Co-Director of the Noosa EEHub.
An Australian-first, the Noosa EEHub responds to the current cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives and Sustainability, by offering a seamless integration of local Indigenous knowledge of sustainability practices within its curriculum.
"We believe that Aboriginal perspectives should be embedded in environmental education," said Ms Mikhail.
"We are delighted to offer students who live and study on traditional Kabi Kabi land the opportunity to walk alongside Kabi Kabi educators to learn about the ecosystems that support our existence.
"Funding from the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation and a partnership with the Kabi Kabi First Nations Traditional Owners, have allowed this vision to now come to fruition," she said.
Noosa EEHub began trialling its programs with secondary schools in the second semester of 2019.
"Many schools are seeking community partnership. Our programs allow intergenerational learning through partnerships with the Kabi Kabi Traditional Owners and our extraordinary local environmental groups who volunteer their time to protect the Noosa Biosphere. We offer students the opportunity to engage in real life community programs which makes the curriculum meaningful and results in positive student engagement and interest," said Ms Mikhail.
Curriculum leader at Good Shepherd Lutheran College, Theresa Tapara says the Noosa EEHub program has enabled her to make teaching the curriculum real for students.
"The biggest change has been the change in the kids. It's the connection between what we do in school and making it real so that the students can see a future with it," said Ms Tapara.
NBRF Chair, Rex Halverson said the education hub will provide rich long-term benefits to the Noosa Shire.
"We were excited to support this project because of the innovative approach to environmental education and its alignment with the aims of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program. Biosphere reserves (in our case, Noosa Shire) are learning sites where we test new, interdisciplinary approaches to managing the delicate balance between people and ecological systems.
"Dalia and the team at Noosa EEHub have developed excellent programs which provide students with a deep connection between their natural environment and the community in which they live."
Noosa EEHub offers incursion and excursion opportunities during school hours and is taking bookings for recommencement in term three due to COVID-19. More information is available at www.noosaeehub.com.au.
Noosa District High School Year 9 Science Students with Noosa EEHub co-director Dalia Mikhail after presenting their Waterway Health and Waterbug analysis project.