The kids of Ginninderry and surrounds had the chance to connect with Country and art thanks to the popular My Place Holiday Program held during the September school holidays.
The children who took part called the Conservation Corridor home for two exciting days – exploring the steep and beautiful valleys of the Murrumbidgee River, thriving native grasslands, and a thick native pine (Callitris) forest filled with adventure and learning.
As Tyson Powell, Aboriginal Project Officer at Ginninderry Conservation Trust, explains, “The group were able to let their curiosity and freedom run free, with plenty of time to stop and reflect along the way.”
“A big part of the learning came from these walks, and we would stop at points and encourage the children to look at certain things. It was all about exploring nature and having the freedom to do that.”
“If a branch had fallen, we would ask them to think about what kind of folks would live here. What does this mean? We never got far when we walked because there was so much to stop and check out,” says Tyson.
Local artist Sharon Field helped the children look at the natural environment through an artistic lens. With care and gentle encouragement, the world around them quickly transformed into a limitless canvas.
“Sharon got them to find some things they could paint. So, they were able to collect leaves, plants and natural fibres. It was all about getting the kids to think outside of the box. What is art? It doesn’t have to look like just sitting in the classroom,” says Tyson.
First Nations culture played a vital role in inspiring the children and challenging their worldview. As they walked through Ngunnawal Country, Tyson spoke of Dreamtime stories, the significance of the land and the history of his people.
“When I was just doing dot painting, some of the kids were like, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ so I showed them. On the second day, I brought in a Coolamon and some clap sticks, and I told them about how they are made, where they come from, and the stories behind them,” reflects Tyson.
As the program ended, the children made their way out of the Corridor, taking with them a newfound perspective on the land and the beginnings of a life-long connections with the region.
“The main purpose of the program, and what I think it did achieve is, getting kids outdoors to connect with nature.
“They were out there enjoying themselves and exploring, making connections with being outside in nature and feeling comfortable in that environment,” reflects Tyson.
To keep up to date with other activities in the area, check out the Ginninderry event calendar here https://ginninderry.com/whats-on/