NSW STORIES

New school education program helping kids save koalas

School children, the citizens of tomorrow, are a fertile ground to grow a commitment to loving and caring for our koalas.

The NSW Koala Strategy is working with the Lions Club on a new education program targeting school children to inspire them to create projects to save koalas.

The Koala Smart school education program is asking – what would you do to save koalas?

Once the students have come up with valid and achievable ideas the local community becomes involved, working with the children to implement the best ideas.

In 2019, 25 schools in the Port Macquarie Hastings and Kempsey, an area that saw great loss of habitat and individual animals in the summer fires, joined the program. Students came up with ideas such as ladders for the back yard to provide escape from dogs – and, ingeniously, a wildlife rescue app devised to alert the Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie when an injured koala requires urgent care.

The Lions Club is now working with schools on the 2020 program, with the aim to extend it across the state. NSW government funding will help align the program with the school curriculum, develop further content and produce guidelines to help other Lions Clubs to deliver the program

In another successful school education program, in 2019 eight primary schools in the Hills and Hawkesbury Shires undertook local Koala Conservation Action Events in conjunction with Brewongle Environmental Education Centre’s Koala Education program.

Students at Annangrove and Arcadia Public Schools were supported in their efforts to see if their grounds were koala friendly and if not how to make them so. They learned what koalas need to survive and how their work can enhance local habitat.

Students learned how to follow ‘scats and tracks’ to seek evidence of koalas.

It is clear that a love of koalas and a commitment to caring can start at a young age and that our children are the future when it comes to protecting this precious Australian.

“Once the students have come up with valid and achievable ideas the local community becomes involved, working with the children to implement the best ideas.”