In a year when a global pandemic has changed our way of life, students participating in the modified 2020 Kreative Koalas competition were still profoundly impacted by climate change (Sustainable Development Goal 13) and its effect on life on land (Sustainable Development Goal 15). The most obvious example of this was bushfires.
In 2019 Raymond Terrace Public School won the title of Grand Champion Koala for their exploration of climate change and bushfires. They continued this theme in 2020 with the creation of a brilliant mosaic koala called Disco Inferno.
Disco Inferno has no paint but is covered in glass and plastic tiles and buttons. Iridescent tiles forming a Rainbow Serpent circle the koala. Flames are depicted around his base, he wears an Ambassador 2020 sash and beneath his eyes are tears cascading down his large cheeks and covering the lower half of his face, as the students asked the question: would a river of tears quench the land ablaze?
“We created a design which literally reflects (due to the mirrored tiles) our ideas and exploration of Aboriginal stylised design and our bushfire theme. Our koala will form the centrepiece of our new Aboriginal cultural garden at Raymond Terrace Public School, and should last the test of time with many small hands touching across its vast surface when they are drawn to explore and consider the story telling embedded within our creation.”
Disco Inferno is stunning, bedazzled and jewelled.
At first glance Kevin, the koala from Emu Heights Public School does not seem to have a connection to fire, swathed as he is in beautiful blues depicting the natural environment of the Blue Mountains.
But even Kevin has a fire story:
“In the hot Australian summer we had a lot of bushfires that burnt many trees around our school that had to be cut down. Due to the loss of these trees many koalas and other Australian animals and plants lost their homes. As a grade we decided we would help our native animals and plants by giving them a new home!”
Kevin represents the school’s new sustainable garden with its native bees, birds and butterflies, and Kevin inspired the students to build a butterfly house and a bird house from scratch. Bee houses were purchased and painted and Kevin now sits proudly in the garden amongst bottlebrush.
Climate Clive, the koala from Launceston Church Grammar School – our sole Tasmanian entry – reminds us that life on earth is fragile, and bushfires feature prominently on his body.
Clive’s base is an underwater scene but his body soon transforms to the oranges and blacks of a bushfire inferno. One small piece of green is on his nose.
“The students wanted Climate Clive to tell a story of the human impact on our environment both under water and on land. The narrative the children illustrated included the devastation of recent bushfires, pollution and the spiral effect on our animals and plants. The symbolic representation of the germination on the koala’s nose signifies regrowth and hope for the future.”
Clive is representative of all bushfires that impacted Australia at the beginning of 2020 and shows the effects the fires have on our young students.
The effects of fire on students and their communities was dramatically illustrated on Gula (the Gundungurra language name for koala), the entry from Exeter Public School in the Southern Highlands. The most striking feature of Gula is the 3D-printed Glossy Black Cockatoo flying out of the flames in a scene that creates hope and resilience.
“In January 2020 our local area in Exeter was impacted by the Currowan Bushfire. Our town was evacuated in the middle of the night. It was a very unnerving and scary time for the children of the local area.”
Gula is a split personality koala illustrating both the devastation of bushfires and regeneration. He features photos of the fire and writing from the students describing their experiences. The words hope, resilience and regeneration are written upon his body.
“The stories from the children allowed them to express their feelings and emotions about the bushfires as it affected them and then focus on the positive aspect of the bush coming back alive. It is also defined by the resilience shown by the students. Little did they know that further resilience would be needed with COVID. It has been a very challenging year, and as a school we are very proud of our students and many ways they have overcome the impact of the fires and the courage they are displaying in looking forward positively towards the future. Kreative Koala certainly has been a wonderfully informative and healing project to be a part of.”
Our 2020 Kreative Koala Kids have done a health check on our planet and made decisions about what global issues are in their control to take local action on
They have devised action plans and put them into practice. We look forward to checking in with them in 12 months time to see how they have maintained the rage and delivered permanent behaviour change in their schools and communities.
#Changemakers #KreativeKoalaKids #GlobalGoals