This partnership lead to AAEE becoming linked with an important Reconciliation award. The Queensland Reconciliation Awards are a Queensland government initiative designed to recognise programs undertaken by businesses, community organisations, educational institutions to foster reconciliation and help establish a harmonious future for all Queenslanders. On 2 June 2020, the Sunshine Coast Council’s 2019 Kids in Action program was recognised for the role it plays in building deeper connections between the Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations people and our region’s children, winning the 2020 Queensland Reconciliation Award in the ‘Partnership’ category.

AAEE’s Sunshine Coast members are a vital part of the Kids in Action team, as both sponsors, reference group members, and volunteers, supporting professional development days for educators wanting to improve their delivery of the cross-curricular priority of Indigenous perspectives, as well as supporting teachers wishing to develop a student-led project for Kids in Action.

Kids in Action is an alliance between local government, businesses, philanthropic groups, educators, and First Nations knowledge holders. Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations People partnered with the Kids in Action program to deliver a program underpinned by ecological knowledge, language and cultural practice, connecting to Country and celebrating nature’s icons. Funded by Council’s Environment Levy, with sponsorship from Kawana Shoppingworld, Unitywater and Sea Life Trust and Noosa Shire Council, Kids in Action is offered to all Sunshine Coast primary and secondary schools.

Feedback from the judging panel highlighted that through the program partnerships were strengthened, respectful relationships embraced, and a commitment to ongoing opportunities for shared learning and understanding fostered, in a spirit of reconciliation. The 2019 NAIDOC theme, the International Year of Indigenous Languages, encouraged the program facilitators to deepen connections with Sunshine Coast First Nations communities.

Through the 2019 theme – Connecting to Country: Celebrating nature’s icons – school teams were encouraged to choose a native species (plant or animal) significant to their school and through connecting with, and learning from their local Traditional Custodians, develop a deep understanding of the ecological role, cultural significance, and totemic relationship with their species.

Under the guidance of local Traditional Custodians, students learnt about their iconic species, they learnt language and began a journey towards becoming passionate custodians of Country. Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the 2019 Kids in Action program received praise from the participating teachers and schools for the way it created a stronger connection to our First Nations community. Last year over 300 students from 25 Sunshine Coast schools attended the Kids in Action Conference. They shared some amazing projects that drew upon their partnership working with First Nations People about the significant and special flora and fauna species that can be found on the Sunshine Coast.

Other Queensland AAEE Indigenous partnerships include

  • Gubbi Gubbi Dyungungoo: located across the Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast region, preserving their land with its fauna and flora for future generations.
  • Bunya Dreaming: an annual event to celebrate the harvest of the iconic Bunya Tree hosted by Aunty Beverly Hand and Barung Landcare (Maleny).
  • Black Cockatoo educational seminars for teachers to comply with ACARA Cross-Curriculum Priority on Indigenous Culture and history
  • Uncle Ernie’s Framework: Use and promote Uncle Ernie Grant’s framework for developing culturally appropriate learning resources