Aboriginal Learning on Country graduates care for environment at Monarto Zoo

Three Murray Bridge High students have become the first school-based graduates of a program which gives Aboriginal people the skills they need to care for the environment.

Monarto Zoo’s Aboriginal Learning on Country (ALOC) program allowed each of the three students – Brayden Kartinyeri, Rossi Thorp and Shaq Karpany – to earn a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management over two years.

The trio learned about Ngarrindjeri culture, weed control, revegetation and working with the zoo’s animal conservation team.

Their fantastic achievement was celebrated at a graduation ceremony at the zoo’s Waterhole function centre last week.

Zoos SA’s Aboriginal Learning on Country coordinator, Robyn Bishop, said the program helped the trainees care for country, connect people with nature and – given the credit they earned towards their South Australia Certificates of Education – complete their schooling.

“Our ALOC team combine the skills they have learnt through their studies with cultural knowledge of the land, and play a major role in managing the natural asset that we’ve been entrusted with at Monarto Zoo,” she said.

“Brayden, Shaq and Rossi have been a valuable part of the team over the past two years and we’re so proud of their achievements.”

Brayden said he had enjoyed the program.

“Being able to spend time at Monarto Zoo has been great and has allowed us to gain more knowledge about our country and land that we live on today,” he said.

“We have learnt a lot about our land throughout the two years and are glad to be the first school based trainees for Monarto Zoo.”

Previous ALOC trainees have helped eradicate boxthorns at Tailem Bend and discovered rare species of reptile and possum at Frahn’s farm.

The program originated in the Riverland but has been delivered in the Murraylands for several years.