Traditional stories come to life with the launch of a new augmented reality trail on Phillip Island
30 June 2022 - Bunurong Land Council, Indigital and Earthwatch Australia are proud to launch a new ClimateWatch Cultural Trail experience.
Newhaven College’s beautiful grounds are home to this walking trail experience which celebrates Bunurong stories and nature. From bushfire recovery and resilience, to wisdom about the Moonah tree, powerful narrations from Bunurong Elders enable visitors to understand the importance of country in a new light.
Newhaven College Year 9 and Year 3 students participated in the launch on 23 June, taking the walk around the school grounds. For students, the trail provides an avenue for outdoor classrooms for both environmental and cultural studies. Teacher and ClimateWatch trail manager, Anne Marie McLean, envisions that students will continue to participate in the experience long into the future.
“The ability to share these stories, not just once but indefinitely, will create many opportunities for authentic student learning experiences, helping to forge a deeper connection to country, heritage and the environment,” said Ann Marie, “The knowledge shared will help them to grapple with real world issues and gain a clearer understanding of the land upon which they stand.”
Through innovative augmented reality technology, users simply scan a QR code using the Indigital Storytelling App to see stories come to life with colorful animation and powerful story telling. Powered by Indigital, Australia’s first Indigenous edu-tech company, the trail showcases the creative flair of emerging Bunurong artists and the art and stories of Bunurong Elders.
“It was an absolute privilege to invite Traditional Owners into a safe, respectful space to yarn about their cultural stories and express their thoughts on a range of issues, including climate change, and for them to accept this invitation and be willing to share with us. We introduced the Elders to the technology and explained what we were hoping to achieve through this collaboration, but the real magic happened when they shared. This trail is an example of how technology can connect Elders with young community members and convey 80,000 years of human knowledge for generations to come,” said Cassandra Rowe, Indigital’s Community Connector.
The trail is part of the ClimateWatch program, a national nature monitoring program which empowers everyday citizens to observe the behaviors of our local species. Their photographs and data help researchers understand how flora and fauna are impacted by climate change. In short, citizen science is an avenue for the community to drive positive action on climate change within their local environments.
"The Bunurong people have observed and protected life on Country for over 80,000 years. We have much to learn. I was humbled to be a part of the workshop we held with the Indigital team, Bunurong Elders and Bunurong young people,”
says Fiona Sutton Wilson, Earthwatch CEO.
“We came together through our love for nature and its protection. We shared knowledge and developed this Cultural Trail for the ClimateWatch program. ClimateWatch asks citizen scientists to observe nature closely so that we can see the impacts human activity has had on Australia’s plants and animals. This ClimateWatch Cultural Trail creates a new way to learn from and amplify Traditional Owner knowledge and science.”
To read more about the trail, visit www.climatewatch.org.au/trails/victoria/newhaven-college-vic
Earthwatch Australia thanks the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for supporting the development of an augmented reality Cultural Trail for our ClimateWatch program.