Explore examples and case studies of disaster resilience education in action across Australia.
Disaster resilience education is learning about natural hazards in the local environment and ways to keep communities safe from harm before, during and after an emergency or disaster.
Disaster resilient young people are active participants in designing solutions to local hazard and emergency challenges.
Disaster resilient education supports schools and educators to develop resilient, confident, successful and responsible learners.
Cultural Burning for Resilience
Cultural Burning for Resilience is an Aboriginal-led community project, supported by the Ulladulla Local Aboriginal Land Council, University of Wollongong’s Global Challenges Program and Treading Lightly Inc. The community project brings together Aboriginal high school students with Yuin Elders and Cultural Land Management Practitioners from the South Coast of NSW to learn about good fire, bad fire, and Connection to Country. The students were from Nowra, Bomaderry, Ulladulla and Batemans Bay High Schools. For more information please contact the Ulladulla Local Aboriginal Land Council through Shane Snelson.
Gingin District High School
In 2020, Gingin District High School, with investment and support from the Minderoo Fire and Flood Resilience Initiative, began an innovative school based program helping students become volunteer firefighters. The compulsory 16-week program for Year 10 students educates them about fire safety, firefighting, and bushfire management. The program came about not long after the school sustained substantial damage from a fire.
StreetConnect aimed to increase the awareness of natural disasters, connect residents to trusted local information sources, and ensure they have access to a home emergency/evacuation kit in the North Richmond (NSW) area. It was managed through the local schools, with an adult working group combining forces with students to test some ideas to connect residents, street by street.
Youth Leading the World
Young people from bushfire affected communities in Dorrigo, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley took part in a two-day environmental leadership camp at Cascade Environmental Centre. During the camp they participated in a number of activities that were designed to foster friendships, increase wellbeing, build youth resilience and encourage a sense of connection and belonging. Learn more.
Our Voice - Save the Children
Our Voice brings together local councils, emergency services, and communities to hear from children and young people to ensure their voices and needs are listened to and reflected in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. Delivered in communities which have experienced a major disaster, Our Voice supports young people by enabling them to become powerful agents of change.
Survive and Thrive
A long-term bushfire education partnership between Anglesea Primary School and the Anglesea CFA in Victoria supports students to apply their learning to keep the community safe.
In August 2019, Year 6 students from Anglesea Primary, seeking support to bring their bushfire safety initiatives to life, pitched their ideas to a local panel of 'sharks'.
A Walk Through Strathewen's Fire History
A program born out ofBlack Saturday, which destroyed Strathewen Primary School in Victoria.
Strathewen Primary School, in collaboration with members of the local Country Fire Authority, take annual excursions, camps and community activities to strengthen the students' resilience and understanding of the risks posed by bushfires. Learn more.
A Wurundjeri-led project in partnership with Dixons Creek Primary School, supported by Yarra Ranges Council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria.
The devastation that followed Black Saturday had a significant impact on the Dixons Creek community. Through the Firestick project, students learn about fire management from Indigenous Elders.
The project helps both the children and wider community establish a positive relationship with fire. Learn more
Parent Trees are talking
Dixons Creek Primary School students from years 3-6 recorded their learning in words and sketches as they went walking on Country with Uncle Dave Wandin.
Their work was collated in the Parent Trees are talking book, published by Yarra Ranges Council.
The Holographic Lounge with Invermay Primary School, Launceston Big Picture School and meenah neenah Aboriginal Cultural Education Program.
Through the Floodscapes project, Launceston schoolchildren produced three short films to deliver flood safety messages to their community, using footage overlaid with their own animations: Community Wise, Water Wise, and Pet Wise.
The project encourages and empowers the children of Launceston to become the safety guardians and messengers for the city. The films are accessible to people with hearing and visual impairments and can be readily shared through social media.
Sydney's St. Ives North Public School's Project FireStorm is integrated bushfire education program delivered in partnership with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS). With support from the NSW RFS, students designed and presented innovative solutions to enhance preparedness and resilience to bushfire in their community.
The project addressed education outcomes of the K-6 New South Wales syllabus for the Australian Curriculum, with an emphasis on geography and science. The project supported an integrated approach to teaching and learning about bushfires, using problem-based learning strategies. Project FireStorm is now used as a case study to support teachers to deliver bushfire education across New South Wales.
Strathewen-Arthurs Creek Bushfire Education Partnership
Strathewen was one of many communities impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. In 2016, Strathewen Primary School worked with the Arthur's Creek/Strathewen Country Fire Authority (CFA) to deliver a program related to bushfire risk, focused on helping children 'love where they live' again.
Part of the CFA's broader Survive and Thrive program, the project used Claymation video to creatively engage students in learning about fire behaviour. The project educated students on the risks of living in a high fire danger area, encouraging them to think proactively about ways of reducing and managing the risk.