The first project I managed here at Crystal Creek was back in November, in aid of World Responsible Tourism Day, and I’d like to tell you a little about my experience... just briefly!
The idea of the event was to study aboriginal cultural practices, and use these to stimulate a connectedness with nature among non-aboriginal school children. It is believed that a connection with nature can have a significant influence on an individual’s values and actions concerning the environment. A strong connection can lead to an active engagement in pro-environmental decisions and behaviour, a perfect example being the aboriginal community. They are brought up with many of years of ancient beliefs and values interlinked with nature, and the environment in which they live is the foundation of their lives.
To use this information and knowledge effectively, Chris Warren, myself and Jane Gripper (who is studying for a masters degree in Environmental Education), came together to provide opportunities that stimulate connectedness with school children from the local Kangaroo Valley Primary School, and collaborate with members from the Aboriginal community at Wreck Bay in order to get a better understanding of the their beliefs associated with the environment.
I was in charge of organizing the logistics for the day itself, held at Crystal Creek Meadows on the 6th November. I invited four classes from the Kangaroo Valley Primary school to come down for the day so we are able to put these theories into practice. The children spent the day in the natural environment and time with an Aboriginal community member; Julie freeman, who told aboriginal dream time stories to the children. There were a number of other activities that we organised for the children, including a food mile activity, the opportunity to learn about the character of trees and how to plant a tree and a reflective period at the end, where the children had the opportunity to draw a picture, write a story or build a habitat.
We conducted a survey prior to the events to see how connected the children felt with nature. We conducted the same study again after the event, and compared the results. From a tourism student’s point of view, this was very useful for me, as it is not something I have ever had the opportunity to do at university. I was then involved in the write up of a report, where I was given the responsibility of writing up the study method and drafting the report (see link below). This was a fantastic opportunity for me to be involved in such an interesting study, and understand to a better degree how conducting studies like these are actually put into practice.
Not only has this project made me aware of just how important a connection with the natural world is, it has allowed me to realize a new passion, and look at my future career differently. It has also given me some experience in event management, and the next project seems less daunting this time around. I will report on that one next time!