It has been just over two years since the Nawarddeken Academy opened and we are proud to report that the school is now established as an independent entity, with a standalone board and the full set of operating arrangements expected of a fully-fledged independent school.
We are immensely proud to say that the Academy has now submitted its independent school registration application which is a major milestone.
Starting with only eight students and one teacher, the Academy has quickly grown and now has;
— one permanent full-time teacher and one full time executive officer
— a part time teacher
— three casual Indigenous teaching assistants and
— a growing number of students (15 primary and 5 early childhood).
The school board held their second meeting in October. The meeting demonstrated the strong partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous directors and employees, all highly committed to the organisation's vision of providing exceptional and cultural relevant education to children across West Arnhem Land. Whilst the Academy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Warddeken and led by several Indigenous directors and community elders, they have chosen to appoint four non-Indigenous expert directors who include Leonie Jones (a former remote school principal who is well respected by the Department of Education), David Arthur (Treasurer for the Association of Independent Schools, NT), Richard Tudor (former principal of Trinity Grammar, founder of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and former chair of the Nawarddeken Academy Steering Committee) and Margie Moroney (Director of the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust, former Steering Committee member and founding supporter of the Nawarddeken Academy). KKT Chairman Justin Punch, director Fred Hunter and CEO Bjorn Everts also attended the meeting, reflecting KKT’s ongoing and close partnership with this vital project.
During the meeting it was decided that an extensive round of community consultations take place to inform the way that the Nawarddeken Academy executes its vision over the next three to five years. We intend to bring the resulting plans to supporters in the new year. We're thrilled to continue to be a part of this journey.
For the first time, this term, Early Learning educators participated in early childhood training with a qualified early childhood trainer in Kabulwarnamyo. Nina Zepnick worked collaboratively with the Nawarddeken Early Learning Program (NELP) staff and students for a two week period which gave the teachers a chance to reflect on their current teaching practices and plan engaging activities for their students. It has been wonderful to see that the training has inspired the NELP educators to further develop their skills in early childhood education and they are now better able to involve families in the learning process with their children.
In addition to this training in Kabulwarnamyo, there is an opportunity for the NELP educators to attend the Department of Education’s Abecedarian training in Jabiru to further extend their professional development. This will play a vital role towards ensuring that appropriate and high quality early learning education is delivered in Kabulwarnamyo.
With the school now completing its startup phase of operations, planning is currently underway for its next phase of growth and development. Educational needs in the region are significant, and the school’s board, Warddeken Land Management Limited (WLML) and KKT are focussed on how best to expand to meet these needs.
Together we share the hope and vision that the ongoing success of Nawarddeken Academy might provide a template for the improvement of remote Indigenous education across the region and possibly Australia-wide.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce the newest member of the KKT team, Stacey Irving.
Stacey is a philanthropy and development specialist, who works with individuals, trusts, and foundations to connect their generosity to work that is meaningful and impactful.
Stacey comes to KKT keen to deepen her understanding of bininj (Indigenous peoples) connection to country. It is her hope that with KKT she can support the growth and breadth of Indigenous-lead cultural and environmental projects across Arnhem Land.
Stacey has completed an undergraduate degree in International Development, and a Master of International Urban and Environmental Management, which included a focus on Indigenous land management.
Stacey has 10 years experience working in the non-profit sector. She most recently focused on leading the major gifts program at Bush Heritage Australia, along with voluntarily running a community arts based non-profit called Creative Spark. Stacey will be an invaluable addition to our team.
The Warddeken Women’s Ranger Project continue to receive positive media coverage for the extensive work the women's rangers are doing to not only close the gender gap but to empower other Indigenous women to engage in the workforce in their respective communities. The project, funded by KKT with generous support from the Jibb Foundation and the Klein Foundation commenced in 2017 with the recruitment of Georgia Vallance as women’s ranger coordinator.
Click here to read an excerpt or purchase the full article from RM Williams ‘OUTBACK’ magazine.
Believed to be a world-first in using fire to create carbon credits, the Warddeken Rangers are using traditional fire management techniques combined with new technology to protect the landscape. Kabulwarnamyo is the main outstation in the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area, a nine-hour drive from Darwin through difficult terrain. It is the birthplace of the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project. There are now 80 projects across Northern Australia using this same methodology, producing great results for the land.
In 2016 alone, Arnhem Land projects produced 830,000 tonnes of carbon abatement. The funds from this work will be reinvested into the land management and cultural heritage work conducted across Arnhem Land.
Throughout this process, traditional owners are consulted about which are the best areas to burn in the early dry season to help reduce the risk of large scale, uncontrolled fires later in the season. Having traditional owners guide this project not only provides critical Indigenous knowledge that is needed for its success but ensures they stay connected to their spiritual obligations to the land.
Click here to read the ABC article on the Warddeken Ranger fire management program.
Earlier this year the Mayh Threatened Species Recovery Project deployed arrays of rugged camera traps at 60 biodiversity monitoring sites across the 14,000 square kilometres of the Warddeken IPA. The Warddeken Daluk (women’s) Rangers have now analysed more the 475,000 images from the first round of remote camera surveys. This produced impressive results with 28 of a possible 33 mammal species expected to be recorded detected with the most exciting captures being the critically endangered (NT) djabbo, Northern Quoll and endangered bakkadjdji, Black-footed Tree-rat.
Warddeken Rangers invested more than 500 hours into this work, including the development of targeted reporting for each clan estate surveyed. By generating species distribution models from real records, the monitoring will not only reveal where species are present, but also allow us to predict where else they may occur in the IPA.
As this project continues, there will be an additional 60 sites surveyed in 2018, with arrays of motion sensing cameras deployed to be able to collect more in depth data on these animals as well as a new database to make recording their sightings far more efficient. This is an exciting, capacity building project for the women rangers of Warddeken who are developing and using cutting-edge science and technology rather than relying on the intervention of Western experts.
Bjorn Everts, CEO of KKT will be travelling to Melbourne to facilitate the Simplot ambassador program. Through this program a delegation of Simplot staff will be flown to the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area to experience first hand the meaningful role that Simplot play for Warddeken Rangers in the IPA. Staff will be taken on one of the fortnightly air charter services that deliver food and supplies to the remote communities of Kabulwarnamyo and Manmoyi. Simplot’s support of this critical supply line enables Warddeken rangers to be permanently based in these communities and our thanks go to them for this vital contribution.
Another exciting research project that KKT has facilitated is the management of feral pigs, cattle and buffalo in the Djelk IPA. The project, run by CSIRO scientist Justin Perry, aims to further develop technology that will assist Indigenous groups, to reduce the serious environmental impacts caused by these animals. Previously, it has been difficult to track and control these animals due to inaccessibility, significant cost and technical challenges. With the guidance of CSIRO and new tracking device technologies developed by JCU, there are new developments in how this tracking can take place.
The project aims to track the movements of these animals in real time (hourly), so their habits can be predicted, and this data will then be used to manage the species. “The primary on-ground benefits will be to help save the marine turtles, through reducing egg predation, and to restore extensive wetlands (and associated biodiversity and carbon-capture) benefits that are currently being destroyed.” Justin Perry.
The project will be in partnership with three Indigenous land management organisations, so a strategic management plan can be put in place to suit a variety of community needs as well as open up new employment opportunities for Indigenous groups, including carbon capture and environmental management activities.