Taronga and the Department of Family and Community Services will help lead 29 young people from the Burbangana and Walanmarra programs on a 490km ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ relay walk from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo to Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
The Shoulder to Shoulder walk will see participants undertake a journey of discovery, exploration, self reflection, strength and achievement as they walk country over a two week period.
As part of the journey, the walkers will be welcomed by communities along the way, with ceremonies connecting participants with the traditional owners.
“Shoulder to Shoulder is highly symbolic for indigenous people as it recreates the walking of country; a deeply connective and spiritual experience that increases an understanding of country, its environment, animals, people and stories,” said Aboriginal Special Projects Coordinator, Nardi Simpson.
“We are all looking forward to the journey ahead and seeing the young people we work with on a daily basis grow and develop along the way.”
“We have been training in the lead up to our journey. No doubt the walk is going to be tough, but we are ready for the challenge,” said Nardi.
The Shoulder to Shoulder walk will finish at Taronga Zoo on Thursday 6 October 2016 in the lead up to Taronga Zoo’s official centenary birthday celebration.
“The Burbangana and Walanmarra programs have been very successful in developing pride, respect and leadership skills amongst young people with a focus on learning new social skills and developing self esteem and confidence,” said Zoo Director, Matthew Fuller.
“The Shoulder to Shoulder walk is a great initiative and is something I think that will stay with these young people for many years to come.”
Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard said: “I would like to thank the staff at Taronga and FACS for all their care, time and effort in arranging such a brilliant and well thought out event to mark the centenary. I look forward to walking with the children for a few hours when they get to Sydney.”
Shoulder to Shoulder is proudly supported by Bunnings Warehouse, Berkel Constructions, Australia Hammer Supplies, Midcity Windows, Rebel, ARA and Ritera Electrical.