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The Walanmarra Program is a joint initiative between Community Services Western Region and Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The Program is targeted at Aboriginal children aged between 8 and 12 years.

Walanmarra is a Wiradjuri word which means ‘to make strong now’, representing the ethos of the program working towards strengthening Aboriginal children, in their skills, learning and attachment to land and culture. 

Children attend the program one morning per week for a three month block.  Individual mentoring is provided by Zoo staff and participants learn about the different animals.  This is practical as well as educational and the children participate in the care of the animals.  The program offers insights into the relationship that exists between the people, animals and the land in Indigenous culture.

The Program allows children to access a program that connects Aboriginal culture to relevant and enjoyable hands on learning experiences.  As part of the program participants go ‘behind the scenes’ at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and learn about the care, protection and enrichment of different animal species.  Participants learn correct methods of approaching and handling different animals ensuring a safe environment for them and the animal.

The program provides opportunities for children to have positive experiences to:

  • Increase sense of identity and reconnection for Aboriginal children
  • Learn how to get along with people
  • Learn to manage emotions and behaviours in ways that promote positive social opportunities
  • Learn to care about the environment
  • Develop self esteem and confidence

For further information, please contact: