The buzz of activity and excitement radiated at Venue 114 as more than 300 students participated in the Kids in Action event yesterday, September 11 2019.

As one student said, it was “thrilling and inspiring all at once!”

Kids from more than 25 schools within the Sunshine Coast Council regional area as well as Noosa came together for the eighth annual Kids Teaching Kids Conference to celebrate and showcase the environmental projects they’ve been working on for the past few terms.

Designed for students from Years 5-8, Sunshine Coast Council’s Kids in Action program includes the Environmental Projects Day, which occurred at Brannock’s Reserve in Landsborough back in May, and yesterday’s Conference.

The program aims to increase children’s environmental knowledge and understanding, while inspiring and providing opportunities for positive environmental and sustainability action.

This year was declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and in recognition of this, the 2019 Kids in Action theme is Connecting to Country: Celebrating nature’s icons.

For this year’s program, Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer explained that Sunshine Coast and Noosa students were asked to select a significant native species of flora or fauna as their school’s totem.

“Through working with our Traditional Owners and learning from their Indigenous cultural and spiritual connections to Country as well as scientific knowledge, the students have gained a deeper understanding of the role those species play in the broader ecosystem of our own backyards,” Cr Dwyer said.

“By learning about these species and how they fit together within the natural environment, our future generations now have vital information to help keep the Sunshine Coast a beautiful and naturally valuable place.

“Another fun aspect about today’s event is the exciting competitive element.

“Each of the schools have their favourite species, or totems, that they’re presenting on today, and I’m sure each of them will tell you they’ve got the best animal or plant and the best way of showcasing that significant species.”

Students selected species ranging from the cute and cuddly Gu’la (Kabi Kabi for koala), to the feathered Djandurr (Jinibara for yellow-tailed black cockatoo), and also some of our local trees and plants, including the Pikki (Kabi Kabi for piccabeen palm) and Barnii (Jinibara for bunya pine).

They shared knowledge on their totem species in a variety of ways, including dance and song, visual arts and crafts, news report-styled videos, yarning circles, interactive displays, and even scavenger hunts.

The Kids Choice Award winners were Brightwater State School for Best Workshop, Tewantin State School for Best Main Stage Performance and Talara Primary College for Best Interactive Display.

Cr Dwyer highlighted the importance of the collaborative educational process for the students.

“At the end of the day, another wonderful and central part of the conference is the experience these kids get in teaching one another.

“It takes confidence in themselves and in their knowledge to share with their peers in such a public forum, and I’m so proud of all these students who have stepped up and taken on that teaching role.”

This sentiment was echoed by a number of children on the day, with Tallulah Veal from Maroochydore State High School sharing why coming together is so vital.

“Kids in Action is important so our younger generation get the opportunity to work together and share our voice, ideologies and beliefs around environmental issues on the coast,” Miss Veal said.

“I think it’s special that all of us, from prep to grade 8 and beyond, can come together and all collaborate on our ideas and share what we think we can do and how we can help.”

While the Kids Teaching Kids Conference was the culmination of the Kids in Action program for most students, several school groups will have the opportunity to share their presentations with a greater audience at Kawana Shoppingworld during the Kids in Action Roadshow from October 17-19.

Sunshine Coast Council is proud to be the first local government in Australia to support its own regional Kids Teaching Kids event, which is now mirrored by many other local councils across the country.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Kids in Action program is funded in part by the Environment Levy.

Additional supporting sponsors and partners of Kids in Action include Unitywater, Kawana Shoppingworld, SeaLife Trust and Kids-Teaching-Kids.

For more information about the Kids in Action program, please visit council’s website at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

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