Survive and Thrive in Victoria

In one bushfire prone community, students are taking the lead through an educational partnership - Survive and Thrive - to help keep the community safe.

Seeking support to bring their bushfire safety initiatives to life, Year 6 students from Anglesea Primary School involved in the Survive and Thrive fire education program pitched their ideas to a local panel of 'sharks' and community members at the Anglesea CFA station in August 2019.

The concept was borrowed from the television show Shark Tank, where contestants pitch their business ideas to investors. The Anglesea shark tank panel included Julian Hebden (Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet), Matilda Pink (Bendigo Bank), Steve Cameron (Emergency Management Victoria) and Amanda Wilkens (The Canny Group).

The students had to ‘sell’ their idea to the sharks, answer questions and convince the sharks to support the implementation of their projects in the Anglesea community.

A broad range of initiatives were presented, including a map of Anglesea to help young people and visitors identify bushfire safe spots; video clips to communicate bushfire risk to tourists; an online blog to gather fire safety resources; a mobile app that quizzes users about their bushfire knowledge and an Anglesea-themed board game that turns safety messaging into an entertaining race against time.

The projects demonstrated the students’ understanding of fire behaviour and bushfire preparedness, gained through their involvement in the Survive and Thrive program. The shark tank event provided an opportunity to showcase a range of additional learning skills – including teamwork, public speaking and listening – in a purposeful and authentic setting. Importantly, the event also nurtured and developed connections across the community, a fundamental component of disaster resilience.

Now in its sixth year, the Survive and Thrive program is a long-term bushfire education partnership between Anglesea Primary School and the Anglesea CFA community. The program supports students to apply their learning to keep the community safe.