Tropical Savannas CRC > Achievements > Raising awareness

Raising awareness of savanna issues

Science teacher Jenni Webber with Year 7 students at Taminmin High School

Students using Environorth

One of the most effective ways to raise awareness of savanna land management issues is to help tropical savanna schools improve their teaching materials that relate to the environment and land management. An increasing number of people are growing up in tropical savanna environments whether it is in growing cities like Darwin or Townsville or smaller settlements, yet there is often very little local content in school curricula when it comes to the environment.

To meet this need, the Tropical Savannas CRC’s Tropical Savannas Knowledge for Schools project worked with Education Departments, teachers and students as well as land managers and researchers to produce engaging and accurate materials on the Tropical Savannas that worked with school curricula. The result was three interactive web-based modules

 

 

Savanna Walkabout

Quoll Files

"The Quoll Files" from Savanna Walkabout


This module engages students so they gain key understandings related to biodiversity in the tropical savannas. The module includes a guided tour by “Terry the Termite”, video interviews with active researchers, and an interactive section where you can plan your own biodiversity survey. The key understandings include the idea that biodiversity covers more than endangered species; that tropical savannas are found across the globe and that while Australian tropical savannas may lack lions, elephants and gazelles they have their own fascinating plants and animals adapted to a distinctive environment. A key insight is that people are an important part of our savannas and that our management of those landscapes play an important role in trying to maintain biodiversity – and that hanging onto the diversity of life has many likely benefits.

 

 

Burning Issues

Outback Cinema

The module features knowledge from traditional custodians


The Burning Issues module provides insights into how people manage fire in the northern savannas with a focus on the spectacular Kakadu National Park. Key understandings include appreciating that climate, fire and vegetation are all inter-related and a change in one will trigger changes in the others; another important insight is that people and fire have been linked for millennia and the way Indigenous people managed fire has shaped the savannas and the way we manage fire today is continuing to shape the savannas. The module includes videos of a traditional Indigenous fire management walk narrated by a custodian of the Arnhem Land Plateau country; a computer simulation of the impact of different fire patterns in Kakadu’s eucalypt savannas; and opportunities to test-drive the latest technology used to track fires by satellite.

 

 

Two other modules are being developed: one on the cattle country of the savannas and one on Indigenous land and sea management.