Janelle Randall-Court: No Waste on Country & Cooling the Schools

First Nations Cultural Education Officer, Janelle Randall-Court (Video: Kalani Gacon)

Story by Lis Bastian

Bundjalung Yaegl woman and Bullaburra resident, Janelle Randall-Court, has a long history of working creatively to inspire people to care for Country. We interviewed her after watching her give a cultural presentation for Greening Australia’s Cooling the Schools Project.


Key Points:

  • With funding from the NSW Government’s Greening our City program, Greening Australia and Deadly Ed are delivering cultural education sessions as part of the Cooling the Schools program.
  • Cooling the Schools is planting 36,000 native trees and plants in schools across Greater Sydney to reduce the urban heat island effect and increase biodiversity.
  • Schools can apply to Greening Australia to be part of the Cooling the Schools program here

“My whole background, professionally and personally, is around education and obviously culture is at the heart of it all. Working with children, working with community, as an educator is really a beautiful opportunity to weave my cultural history and that cultural story in everything I do. I’ve always been concerned about the health of Country and have looked at opportunities to find positive ways to heal Country. Now that could mean using the arts, it could be working directly with young people, it could be working within education.

So I have this personal background of using all those elements in coming up with creative, lighthearted, thought-provoking, entertaining, educational ways to heal Country.”

Janelle’s diverse skills in dance, choreography, video production, artmaking, storytelling, education and project management have resulted in an inspiring body of work.

Long before the media began to highlight how damaging and wasteful our fast fashion culture is, and way back when you were still allowed to scavenge at ‘tips’, Janelle was scavenging for clothes and eventually ran Tipp Wear fashion parades, with models wearing clothes rescued from landfill.

While working with the Aboriginal Cultural Resource Centre (ACRC), her dedication to reducing waste led her to co-produce the 2011 documentary: No Waste on Country: Leave Only Footprints.

In 2015, after having worked as a Discovery Ranger for National Parks, she drew on her background as a professional dancer to produce Treasures: an inspirational dance work based on the life of the male Satin Bowerbird. She wanted to convey the dangers of waste in the bush, and in particular the threats to bowerbirds which collect man-made blue ‘treasure’ in their attempt to attract a mate.

Janelle and the dancers performing Treasures (Photo: supplied)

Janelle has also designed these stunning No Waste on Country bin stickers:

Janelle Randall-Court: No Waste on Country

In 2022 Janelle also participated in the Re-Imagining Waste Art Project with the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network, and gave a series of workshops with community to make art from waste.

When we caught up this week, she was inspiring young children in her current role as First Nations Cultural Education Officer with Greening Australia’s Cooling the Schools Project

Funded by the NSW government’s Greening our City program, Cooling the Schools and Deadly Ed are helping students learn firsthand about the environmental and cultural benefits of planting native species for First Nations cultures. They’re planting 36,000 native trees and plants in schools throughout Greater Sydney to create the canopy needed to reduce the urban heat island effect ahead of future heatwaves. The Project aims to connect children to nature, empower them to take action in their communities, and to create ‘greener cooler places where both people and nature can thrive’.

Each session starts with Janelle engaging the young people in a presentation about culture and Country. The Greening Australia team members then demonstrate how to plant tubestock, before helping students plant dozens of local species to ‘cool the school’ and provide habitat for wildlife.

Janelle Randall-Court:  Cooling the Schools

Janelle and the Greening Australia Team introducing the program (Photo: Lis Bastian)

Janelle is effusive about working with Greening Australia and is thrilled that she can use all her environmental and cultural education skills, and arts background, to develop programs within the Cooling the Schools Project.

She’s aware that much of what students are learning is making them anxious and believes that helping them get their hands in the dirt to create future canopy and habitat in their own schools, is a concrete and light-hearted way for them to have a genuine and positive influence over their own futures.

Janelle Randall-Court: Cooling the Schools

Janelle helping the children plant their tubestock (Photo: Lis Bastian)

She describes her days as being layered with joy: from working with the passionate Greening Australia team to getting out on Country and connecting with the young people in each school. 

“Some of the kids have never planted before. I’ve had kids skipping around me saying ‘I want to be a farmer. I want to do more planting. I love this.’ Some kids want to come up and hug you because it’s just made their day.”

Janelle providing one-on-one attention to students (Photo: Lis Bastian)


Take Action:

Share this article:


This story has been produced as part of a Bioregional Collaboration for Planetary Health and is supported by the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF). The DRRF is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.


More from around the region

In this video, Dharug artist Leanne Tobin talks eloquently about the critical importance of water and why it`s the theme of her two paintings in the Water for Life exhibition at the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Centre. View the paintings and learn more about the many ways we can work together to manage water better at our free Water Symposium next Friday 26th July. Bookings essential (link in profile): https://bit.ly/3LiuJWi

The full video can be viewed on our YouTube channel (link in profile)

#waterforlife #leannetobin #firstnations #waterissacred #planetaryhealth #watersymposium
...

Electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity across Australia, but many people are still uncertain about their benefits, feasibility, and availability. To try and help local communities in the Lower Mountains have a better understanding of what EV’s can offer, @parentsforclimatebluemountains are hosting an EV Showcase in Blaxland on Saturday 27 July to help bust the EV myths and provide helpful, up-to-date and accessible information. 33 Hope Street Blaxland between 10 am and 12.30 Read more in Lower Mountains Local News (link in profile): https://lowermtnslocalnews.com/community-ev-showcase-blaxland/

#electriccars #blaxland #bluemountains #ev #planetaryhealth #towardszeroemissions
...

As part of our Water Demonstration Site at the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Centre we`ve installed a range of sprinklers to show people how to protect their homes from bushfire. Plumber Daniel Brown will be giving a tour at our upcoming event: Future Proofing with Circular Water on Friday 26 July. The event is free but bookings essential at https:bit.ly/4f78K1Z (link in profile) #bushfiresprinklers #beprepared #planetaryhealth ...

Global problems are creating renewed interest in traditional DIY skills like sewing. Here’s how a local grandmother is sharing her rag trade experience to make a difference and how you can get involved. Read more in Katoomba Area Local News (link in profile): https://www.katoombalocalnews.com/upcycling-fashion-workshops/
#skillshare #givingback #sharing #upcyclingfashion #sewing #patternmaking #repair #clothingadjustments #wastereduction #textilewaste #creativity #planetaryhealth
...

Our fortnightly Planetary Health Newsletter shares news about upcoming events, like our free Water Symposium on Friday 26 July, and stories from the Lower Mountains to Lithgow that are jam-packed with inspiration and a blueprint for the way forward.

Read it here and subscribe via any of our news sites (links in profile):
https://bit.ly/4cXQg2f

In this edition:

Katoomba Area Local News: Learning How To Upcycle Fashion with Sherlie McMillan

Mid Mountains Local News: Mid Mountains Repair Guide: Choosing Longevity in an Age of Disposability

Blackheath Area Local News: Charmaine Ledden-Lewis on Stories for a New World

Lower Mountains Local News: Busting The EV Myths: Community EV Showcase & Information Event Comes to Blaxland

Springwood Area Local News: Beyond the Yellow Bin: Surprising Things You Can Recycle – and How to Do it!

Lithgow Local News: The Gang Gang Farmers Market will Return in Spring!

#planetaryhealth #systemicchange #togetherwecan #solutions #constructivejournalism #watersymposium #hyperlocalnews
...

The story of Lithgow Environment Group is a saga spanning nearly two decades of their heroic struggle against fire, local habitat destruction, weak government legislation and, in particular, irresponsible mining practices. Read more in Lithgow Area Local News (link in profile):

https://lithgowlocalnews.com/lithgow-environmental-group/
#heroes #environmentalwarriors #dedication #care #lithgow #stewards #habitatprotection #protectors #planetaryhealth
...

Rainforest Aircon: Planting for Comfort & Climate

Bill Dixon has cultivated a rainforest garden on a ridge in South Springwood. He talks about how growing rainforest species can be an adaptive response to local climate conditions.

Read more in Springwood Area Local News (link in profile): https://springwoodlocalnews.com/rainforest-planting-for-comfort-and-climate/

#springwood #rainforestplants #rainforestaircon #plantingforclimatechange #microclimate #planetaryhealth #bushfire
...

Using drones, the cliffs and hanging swamps of Blue Mountains National Park can be surveyed in a way previously impossible. In this story, Trent Forge from @nswnationalparks and drone pilot Richard Delaney search for the critically endangered `Fletcher`s Drumsticks`. Read more in Blackheath Area Local News (link in profile): https://blackheathnews.com/the-search-for-fletchers-drumsticks/

#drones #conservation #fletchersdrumsticks #endangered #biodiversity #blackheathnsw #bluemountainsnationalpark #planetaryhealth
...

This lift sucks!

It`s great for people with mobility issues who can no longer negotiate stairs!

You can read more about it in our story: Underground and Off-grid in Middle Earth (link in profile)

"The principle operation of the pneumatic vacuum elevator is based on the ascending push generated by the difference between the atmospheric pressure on the top of the car and the atmospheric pressure under the car.
The depression (vacuum) required to lift the car is achieved by turbines operating as exhaust fans which are located at the top of the elevator, also known as the Suction Assembly.
In the event of a power failure, the cabin slowly descends to the ground floor, at which point the passenger is able to exit the cabin."

#accessbility #lifts #planetaryhealth
...

About Lis Bastian

Lis Bastian is the Senior Lead for Blue Mountains City Council’s Planetary Health Initiative. She is the editor of the Local News Platforms and has been a writer, editor, news presenter and teacher/lecturer covering both cultural and environmental issues for over 30 years. She has been pioneering Solutions/Constructive Journalism in Australia since 2012.

You might also like:

mid mountains neighbourhood centre staff

Stronger Together: Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre Walks the Talk

Tucked into a leafy nook in Lawson, the Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre is a delightful place to have a quiet break, learn a new skill, do an exercise class, participate in a social group, or take the kids to playgroup. It also offers resources and services essential to a thriving community.

error

Enjoyed this article? Please help spread the word :)