Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Marine Science (ATSIMS)
ATSIMS, a James Cook University marine science education and outreach program, connects First Nations high school students to marine science and management learning opportunities led by industry experts. The ATSIMS Program engages Year 10 students in North Queensland by building connections between traditional ecological knowledge and western science knowledge to offer a two-way learning experience.
“In recent years there has been increasing recognition of the critical contribution that Indigenous knowledge makes to biodiversity conservation, ecological processes, and sustainable resource use and management.” (Inspiring Australia, 2013 p.3). However, at the tertiary level, the lack of Indigenous students pursuing science is driven by student beliefs that mentors, role models, career prospects, and positive outcomes for the students and their communities are not recognised (Inspiring Australia, 2013 p.4).
The ATSIMS team works tirelessly to coordinate the delivery of field-based learning experiences and workshops led by a range of local and regional experts. The ATSIMS Program is supported by Traditional Owners and representatives, and Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger groups within the North Queensland region. This approach will not only benefit the students participating but also their individual communities and ultimately, the Great Barrier Reef. The ATSIMS Program empowers its participating students to pursue further studies and consider future careers in marine science and management.