Aboriginal rangers connect kids to Country in 360-degree videos

School children across NSW can climb inside the twisting branches of a giant strangler fig at Dorrigo National Park or scale the rushing waterfalls at Blue Mountains National Park with an Aboriginal ranger - without even leaving the classroom!

Aboriginal Discovery Ranger Uncle Dean Kelly at Goat Island

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has launched seven 360-degree educational videos to encourage children to develop a deeper understanding of Aboriginal peoples' connection to Country.

WilderQuest Manager, Simon Stroud said the state-of-the-art videos were filmed at six national parks across NSW, including Sydney Harbour National Park and Coffs Coast Regional Park.

"These remarkable videos provide lifelong learning opportunities to encourage the next generation to value their local environment, shared culture and heritage," Mr Stroud said.

An Aboriginal digital agency provided Aboriginal Discovery rangers with specialist training in advanced 360-degree video and drone technology for virtual reality production.

"This new technology and skill development broadens the channels for our Aboriginal Discovery rangers to share their knowledge and allows children across the state to partake in a unique adventure," Mr Stroud said.

"Children could be learning about ancient footprints with Aunty Tanya in Mungo National Park one day, and exploring caves in the home of the Walgalu people at Kosciuszko National Park with Uncle Shane the next," said Mr Stroud.

The 360-degree educational video adventures are part of the award-winning WilderQuest Learning program, which helps teachers foster a desire to protect and appreciate national parks in children aged five to 12.

Since launching in January 2016, WilderQuest Learning has seen a phenomenal uptake with more than 1,200 schools across NSW using the innovative program.

The Aboriginal Storytelling videos can be enjoyed in the classroom on individual computers, interactive whiteboards, tablets or through VR goggles for a complete virtual reality experience.

For more information about using the 360-degree videos in the classroom head to WilderQuest Aboriginal Campfire.

To learn about other WilderQuest Learning resources, including the iPad App and desktop game, or to visit a NSW national park for a school excursion with Aboriginal Discovery rangers, go to WilderQuest Learning.

360-degree Aboriginal Storytelling was funded as part of the WilderQuest Learning grant from the NSW Environmental Trust.