Kids head outside, swap screens for survival skills, during school vacations at Terra Tribe Farm


School is closed nationwide, but for some children the outdoors is a classroom these vacations as they ditch screens to learn survival skills.

Terra Tribe Farm near Howard on Queensland’s Fraser Coast teaches children about permaculture, nature and sustainability as part of its outdoor programs during school vacations.

The farm, on 12.5 acres of land on the Burrum River, was purchased by Elizabeth Pohlmann in 2019.

She says the programs give children the opportunity to learn while having fun.

“This is how I lived my childhood. I spent a lot of time in the bush,” said Ms Pohlmann.

Farm owner Elizabeth Pohlmann says her programs teach the skills children need.(ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)

“We run school vacation and forest protection programs – we’re a connecting with nature program where kids can get out, play with kids and learn survival skills.

A pink letterbox in the shape of a pig on a wooden fence.
The farm is home to pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and geese.(ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)

“We make bows and arrows and rafts, we light fires and we make shelters.

“The kids have all these materials, pallets, lumber, hammers and nails. They can build whatever they want here.

“They can climb trees, they can take risks, they can play in the dam… [do] things they can no longer experience in cities.

“These are skills that kids need, and they do so well here.”

Light fires, tie knots and catch tadpoles

In addition to survival skills, Ms. Pohlmann teaches her students about permaculture.

“There are nine people on the property and I grow all of our vegetables,” she said.

“In terms of animals, we have pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and geese.

“We had baby piglets yesterday and we were all able to pet one this morning.”

Young boy crouching in front of a roadblock
Saskia Heard enjoys fishing for tadpoles outside the dam.(ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)

Agricultural student Saskia Heard said he has been on the programs for a year.

“It’s fun to play a game on iPad, but it’s also important to socialize with nature,” he said.

“We just went up the slide and now we’re doing Christmas crafts.

“I also like to fish for tadpoles out of the dam.”

Children playing in the water in nature.
Children playing in the Terra Tribe Farm dam.(ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)

Karma Kereopa said her daughter, who participates in school vacation programs, is learning to be more competent outdoors.

“What kind of a world would it be if my child didn’t know how to do these things?”

“For me, it’s a part of childhood.”

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