Case studies

Survive and Thrive: A bushfire message from Strathewen Primary School

Strathewen-Arthurs Creek Bushfire Education Partnership

Strathewen was one of the many communities impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. In 2016, Strathewen Primary School worked with the Arthur’s Creek/Strathewen Country Fire Authority (CFA) to deliver a program related to bushfire risk, focussed 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 students conducted research before writing the script for the video, visiting nearby Healesville Sanctuary to observe how wildlife responds during bushfires, and making an excursion to Yan Yean Reservoir with local CFA members to learn how to manage fuel loads and reduce risk, and how to use scientific equipment to help calculate fire risk ratings.

The project has grown over time and continues each year with the grade 5 and 6 cohort each year involved in a wide range of fire-education sessions on Tuesday mornings during terms 2 and 3. Students become junior members of the local CFA and proudly wear their special uniform to school for all sessions. They work with a range of experts, both local and from further afield, and are immersed in rich learning experiences.The direction the project takes each year is driven by the students, providing them with a true sense of ownership.

Read: Strathewen Primary School Principal, Jane Hayward, in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management 

Author(s): CFA Survive and Thrive Program, Strathewen Fire Brigade and Strathewen Primary School

Location: Authors Creek, Nillumbik Shire Council, Victoria, Australia

Funding Body: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

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