Three students from Blackmans Bay Primary School are determined to make a positive difference in the face of the devastation left by the recent bushfires across New South Wales and Queensland.
After learning about native Australian animals through their classwork, Yaz Andrews (7), Olivia Rule (8) and Olive Sherwin (8) were driven by their compassion for the many koalas being left hungry, homeless and hurt as a result of the impact that the fires are having on the koala’s bushland habitat.
Olive explained that much of what she learned left her feeling shocked and Yaz expressed her sadness over the losses that have resulted from the destruction.
Further research for their class project led the Grade 2 students to watch online videos and news stories related to the topic, which only solidified their desire to put something positive into action and help in any way they could.
The students shared their concerns with teacher Sharon Wilde and with minimal adult guidance, the three pulled together a raffle in less than a week in order to raise funds for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
“The girls really wanted to make a positive difference,” said Ms Wilde.
The students received help to put together a letter which featured a handwritten explanation from the girls as to why they were running the raffle.
“Because we want to save the koalas and other animals in the NSW and Queensland bushfires,” explained the trio.
Each letter contained a raffle ticket which went home to families at the school asking if they could make a donation to the fundraiser to take part in the raffle, which was drawn at the school disco on Friday, November 22.
Again, with a small amount of adult guidance, the three students took charge of the whole project, collecting returned donations and putting together 20 wildlife activity packs which were used as prizes in the raffle draw and contained information, colouring materials, puppets, chocolates, masks and koala biscuits.
Some families and businesses were able to support the girls with their raffle by arranging family passes to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and the Great Escape play centre as prizes.
Ms Wilde has been impressed with the leadership skills shown by the students and how self-driven they have been in moving the fundraiser project forward.
According to the girls, the project has also been a learning exercise in the importance of co-operation, helping each other and working together as a group as they have put together the raffle.
These young minds hold big dreams and plans alongside a passion to raise awareness and share their knowledge, which does not appear to have cooled with the end of their first fundraiser.
Armed with the facts and research gained from their projects and bolstered by the support of their class, their families, their school and the wider community, the students speak with conviction about their desire to make improvements on a large scale when it comes to protecting the habitats of our native animals.
“Our wish is to go on live TV and tell the whole country to stop destroying koala habitats,” said Olivia.
As many Kingborough residents observe the impact that these devasting fires are having on other states and the impact that these situations can have on children, even remotely, it is impressive to see these three students become inspired to act.
The way that the Australian landscape has adapted to integrate bushfire as part of the cycle of growth is apparently not restricted to flora and can also lead to the blossoming of young leaders in our community.
Pictured above: Grade 2 students at Blackmans Bay Primary School, Olivia Rule, Yaz Andrews and Olive Sherwin are pictured in front of class projects depicting the habitats of koalas and other Australian native animals. Determined to counter the devastation of the recent bushfires with positive action, the three students have initiated, organised and run a fundraiser raffle with guidance and support from the adults and community. The fundrasier raised over $500 for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.