Prior to joining the Kreative Koalas program in 2019, students from western Sydney’s James Erskine Public School (JEPS) were already on a sustainability trajectory. They had been involved in Clean Up Australia Day and National Tree Day, had established a vegetable garden, a sensory garden and a bee garden, and recycled paper and cardboard weekly.

Then a giant white fibreglass koala landed on their doorstep and sent their environmental awareness into overdrive. They spoke with YFC Anika Molesworth about climate change and its effects on farmers, implemented composting and became part of the Return and Earn scheme by collecting recyclable containers.

“When we looked at what we could see and feel for ourselves – hotter days, longer drought, water restrictions, extreme weather, bags and bags of garbage headed to landfill, rubbish blowing across the playground, abandoned chicken coops and overgrown gardens… It was easy to see the changes that we needed to make. Our concept inspired the individual pictures on our koala and each day she grew. As we learned new things, we added them, it was a work in progress,” the students said in their Kreative Koalas artwork analysis.

But did JEPS maintain this enthusiasm once the project ended for the year?

“Kreative Koalas had a snowball effect on us. Since September last year we have continued the container recycling and returned over 7900 containers, earning the school $790. This has been used to purchase native bee hotels and a worm farm, and to sponsor a koala through World Wildlife Fund. This year we will also look at soft plastic recycling and possibly get chickens for the school.” teacher Taryn Pears says.

Their fibreglass koala, named Climb It, now holds pride of place in a purpose-built garden at the school.

“She’s surrounded by native plants and all the students are excited to see her on display,” Taryn says

And although Covid-19 has meant JEPS will not be taking part in the 2020 Kreative Koalas, the school continues to feed off the KK momentum.

“I was so glad we had the opportunity last year and we’ve had amazing feedback from the parents and the kids and even other schools who have called me up asking for advice. We have joined forces with Cassandra Lindsay [from Oxley Park Public School] and established a Kid’s Kitchen and Garden where the kids can grow edible plants and cook them. It has been wonderful to show the kids that small changes can make big differences.” ” Taryn says.

In 2020 the Kreative Koalas program, in conjunction with The Archibull Prize for secondary schools, has been adapted so it continues to reach students and teachers, even in a global pandemic! The importance of these programs is not lost on those in the wider community and extends to the political realm.

“I was so impressed with the student and school projects that were showcased at last year’s presentation. The children were outstanding in their delivery and the koalas, of course, are both an item of beauty and knowledge.” says Pauline Dunne Team Leader from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment says.

JEPS exemplifies the ethos of Picture You in Agriculture. Programs such as Kreative Koalas, and The Archibull Prize, are not one off events but rather paths to a sustainable future where our young people can be part of the solution and drivers of the change our world needs.

Taryn and the students from James Erskine Public School with Costa Georgiadis at the Kreative Koalas Awards





Celebrating Partnerships with Jane Lloyd-Jones from Hunter Local Land Services

At Picture You in Agriculture we identify emerging leaders in the agriculture sector who want to share their story and pride in the sector they have chosen for their career journey far and wide.

We provide them access to a cohort of experts who give them  communication and presentation skills training and consumer insights

The key to all training success is applying what you learn.  What a powerful experience it is for them to facilitate our  inschool programs The  Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas that have collectively reached 400 schools and 300,000 students in the last 10 years.

This innovative and impactful program model also surrounds them and the teachers and students with intergenerational community expertise

During the last few years (and continuing during 2020’s challenging times) the Kreative Koalas program has been blessed to work with organisations who support each other and the people we work with to be part of life changing opportunities for their communities. An organisation that shares this ethos is Hunter Local Land Services and driving our partnerhsip with them and the Kreative Koalas schools is school engagement officer Jane Lloyd-Jones. Jane has made many visits to schools, coordinated excursions and starred in videos and today we sit down to discover how Jane came into this role.

Jane Lloyd Jones with students at Kreative Koalas Awards

“My appreciation for the environment started at a young age when I spent many weekends going for walks through the local bushland with my family. This love for the environment led me to complete a Bachelor of Science majoring in Resource and Environmental Management at Macquarie University.”  Jane says.

Upon graduating Jane went to work with Sydney Water where she was involved with the preparation of Reviews of Environmental Factors and Environmental Impact Statements. It was also where she got her first taste for working with schools when she developed presentations for young students about saving water.

“This was really my favourite part of my role, as I was out in the community interacting with school students and I really felt like I was making a difference,” she says.

With a fire for working with young people and the community lit, Jane moved onto Gosford Council. In this role she was responsible for the writing and implementation of the Stormwater Quality Management Plan.

“Implementation of this plan included many very successful community education and engagement programs, including starting up the Waterwatch program in the Gosford area,” she says.

Jane continued to build and consolidate her experience in community engagement when she worked as Coastcare Facilitator for the Mid North Region, assisting local groups to gain grant funding for coastal environmental rehabilitation projects. Then is was time to start a family.

At PYiA we realise and value the importance of finding a work-life balance. It is not all about career but being able to be flexible in our professional lives. As YFC Bessie Thomas once told us: “I can have it all but I might not be able to have it all at the same time!” So, Jane took a break to raise her children and when the time was right she returned to the career pathway she had cultivated.

“I decided to return to work and I started the part time role of Waterwatch assistant at the Hunter Central Rivers CMA,” she says. “This role has developed and broadened over the years, particularly when the CMA became LLS and our business outcomes broadened.

As school engagement officer, I really enjoy interacting with and helping school students to learn in a fun, engaging way.  I enjoy the close working relationship I have with a number of our partners, including local and state government, Landcare and not for profit organisations such as Picture You in Agriculture.”

In 2019 Jane and Hunter Local Land Services worked closely with Medowie Christian School in Kreative Koalas to develop a project around clean water and sanitation. This led the school to being named Grand Champion Community Project for Change. Catch a video of Jane and Medowie teacher Martha Atkins here.

It is partnerships like this that make PYiA’s in-school programs so successful and ensures that vital community good messages are shared far and wide

We  look forward to many more years working with Jane and Hunter Local Land Services to build resilient communities in productive and healthy landscapes..




Putting people first and building bridges together

At Picture You in Agriculture we love it when people ask us

“What are you most proud of?”

Our response

 We believe people are our greatest resource. We are proud to be a people centric organisation. We bring people doing great stuff together so they can do more great stuff together.

In our work with schools, we advise them to consider the following questions.

  • What does community mean to you?
  • What resources are there in your school community you could tap into?
  • What are you doing already?
  • What new partnerships could you build?
  • What can you do to build the capacity of your local community?

And our program evaluations are consistently showing the capcity building model is working

We are supporting teachers to empower their students to drive behavoiral change

“This project has been life changing for our school, families and staff! I am now a town coordinator for Kids4Kids! I have changed my recycling habits at home and have helped many staff and family members to do the same. When it’s explained to most people, they are happy to get on board. Kreative Koalas has been a good conversation starter to introduce people who might think it’s all too hard…it’s not! It’s been wonderful working with our local council and schools. It was just what we needed to get the ball rolling. We look forward to our 2020 projects!”

Teacher quotes:

“Knowing that it is possible for a community to change their habits through education we were able to engage our community hub (multicultural group of women) to implement ways of upcycling old clothing. Kreative Koalas also allowed us to value and take advantage of our community stakeholders who hold wonderful expertise .”

“Although we are very close to our other local schools, we don’t tend to associate with them. If we hadn’t participated in the Kreative Koalas project it probably wouldn’t have crossed our mind to include other members of our community. We are glad KK has opened our eyes to including others in our projects!”


Teacher comments indicate students were actively changing themselves, their families, and communities:



“Students were actively talking about the problem and their solutions at home. I had many parents express to me how engaged their children were at home about this project. “

Over 50% of the schools reported partnering with Aboriginal Land Councils resulting in comments like this

Just like our young Aboriginal Girl’s Group, this koala is a young female in an uncertain world. The Worimi girls are traditional custodians and they feel connected to their lands. Mother Earth has always provided for First Nation people a feeling of connection, a sense of belonging to the Earth, to all living things – the animals, the trees, the stars, one another.”

and this 

” Our students were talking about connection to country and development of their understanding as future custodians of Worimi lands. What this responsibility may look like and what they can do to shape the future in positive and caring ways…sustainable ways to ensure the success and care of future custodians like themselves and also of all creatures themselves and importantly, the land to which they inherently belong.”

and this

“Vacy is a country village in the Dungog Shire.  My class 3/4 along with the Aboriginal students from 5/6 looked at how our use of the land in Vacy has changed over time. What do farmers (our families) grow/raise here now? Why? What are we eating for morning tea?( lots of packet food!) Is this good for the land? What did the Wonorua people eat for food? How did they survive and thrive for millions of years sustainably? …..The black shadows [on our koala] are the spirits of the Wonorua people guiding us to live in harmony with the land as they once did”                                                                                                                     

It goes without saying young people are our legacy.

When we give them ownership of the problem, support their teachers with professional learning and surround them with community experts they believe anything is possible and they prove it is

Special shoutout to our funding partners for sharing our ethos of putting people first and investing in their growth and wellbeing


Its COVID19 cut through time – Inviting teachers and students to Connect, Collaborate, Communicate and Celebrate their creativity in these challenging times  

Exciting News

Do we have the perfect COVID19 cut through programs for you and your students?

It is time to combine learning with fun and post COVID career readiness

Expressions of interest are now open for The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas- Design a Bright Future Challenge investigating sustainability through an agricultural lens.

We know we are working in unusual times and our schools may feel like they are in chaos and teachers and students are feeling overwhelmed.

Our programs are an opportunity to engage students in an exciting, authentic learning experience supported by industry and educational experts.

Students will learn how to manage projects more efficiently and can take full ownership of their work, reflecting on and celebrating their progress and accomplishments. The model encourages students to find their voice and learn to take pride in their work, boosting their agency and purpose.

To bring some added Koala Karma to your lives our team has gathered all the bright minds in education together to create a portfolio of support materials for your learning journey

How does it work

The  Archibull Prize 2020 sees secondary schools tasked with identifying a local agricultural area of investigation and exploring its challenges and opportunities. The students will be assigned a Young Farming Champion and encouraged to identify specialist educational settings, tertiary, business, and government organisations with whom they can partner in their quest to take ownership of the challenge and share their findings and recommendations.

The Archibull Prize Expressions of Interest brochure can be found here

Secondary schools will also be encouraged to build a partnership with their feeder primary schools for Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge with the opportunity for the secondary school to offer student mentoring, facilitation and specialist support.

Kreative Koalas design a bright future challenge taps into creative minds to connect and inspire young people and the community to work together to act on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on a local level

Kreative Koalas expression of interest brochure can be found here

Based on the concept of ‘communities of practice’ these partnered learning opportunities between primary, secondary, specialist educational settings and tertiary institutions will enhance the transition of students through their education journey and provide post-school opportunities through other partnerships with industry and government.

The new model is tailored to support schools to encourage teacher and student collaboration using cross curricula learning.  In addition, it will incorporate the development of intergenerational knowledge and skills transfer while continuing to be an exemplary example of student-driven project-based learning.

Extra support will be available for students in rural and regional NSW through our new partnership with the STEM Industry School program

The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas provide young people with future focused learning linked to real world issues at both a society and agricultural industry level and fosters the top four skills 21st century employers want: collaborative team players, creative thinking, critical analysis and problem solving and influential communication.

Places are limited we currently have opportunities for 10 secondary schools and 20 partner primary schools to participate in 2020.

Visit our website to chose the progam that matches your school

2019 Kreative Koalas Design a Bright Future Challenge Winners announced

Medowie Christian School and Raymond Terrace Public School have been named Grand Champion Koalas in the 2019 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge. Kreative Koalas is a ground-breaking project-based learning initiative from Picture You in Agriculture, which this year delivered the sustainability message and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into fifteen primary schools from the Hunter Valley and Penrith Regions.

Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. Through Kreative Koalas we are giving them a voice in designing and creating that future. This year students have investigated local issues and worked with the community to give a voice to our Koalas and threatened species, our waterways and our farmers. The students have said ‘Together we can’

Medowie Christian School was awarded the Grand Champion Community Project for Change after collaboration with Hunter Local Land Services to raise the importance of healthy waterways for clean water and sanitation. The students developed six easy-to-follow methods for protecting waterways and made these into a pamphlet, which was distributed to the school community. The students also visited their local Gramhamstown Dam to examine the health of the water through temperature, turbidity, salinity and pH testing and presented their findings at a school assembly. Learn more about the winning project here 

Students from Medowie Christian School with Chair of Hunter Local Land Services Lindy Hyam ( right) and teacher Martha Atkins ( left)

Raymond Terrace Public School was awarded Grand Champion Koala for their vibrantly decorated, life-sized fibreglass koala named Mitjigan Guula, which means girl koala in Worimi language. In collaboration with their Aboriginal Girl’s Group they incorporated indigenous designs on their artwork to look at the effects of climate change on koala populations. And, in what has unfortunately proved to be timely, the koala portrays how inaction on climate change can lead to devastating bushfires.

Students from Raymond Terrace Public School with Costa Georgiadis

In other awards Penrith schools Ropes Crossing Public School and Colyton Public School  were recognised for their artwork and community project for change respectively.

Four students were acknowledged as eco-warriors. These students were Zoe Bonifacio from Colyton Public School, Keeley Haywood from James Erskine Public School,Tayla Weeks from Medowie Christian School and Josie Hodges from Gresford Public School.

All schools received their awards at a ceremony held at Tocal Agricultural College on Thursday November 28, attended by sponsors and supporters and emceed by celebrity gardener Costa Georgiadis.

Photos from the awards day can be found here and a big shout out to our supporting partners empowering young people to solve tomorrows problems today




Kreative Koalas tackle food waste

Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge helps young people solve some of the world’s biggest challenges by giving them ownerhsip of the solutions. Using the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals each school participating in Kreative Koalas is tasked with choosing one main goal to study. Our schools have selected a wide range of SDGs, illustrating the variety of issues important to primary school students.

Food waste is one of the world’s biggest wicked problems. As children we understand “show-and-tell”. This works in the case of wicked problems, too. One way to speed up best practice behavoir adoption is through demonstration.

Image source 

Continuing our series showcasing the 2019 Kreative Koalas artworks –  let’s have a look at their creative contributions that focus on SDG 12 Responsible Production and Consumption

Following the 2019 Kreative Koala trend of acknowledging local indigenous culture, students at Lochinvar Public School in the Hunter Valley created Kuluwayn, the Wonnarua name for koala. Kuluwayn is a striking koala combining the Wonnarua culture with recycling initiative Lids4Kids, which produces prosthetic limbs for disabled children using 3D printing.

We wanted to incorporate the fact that our school sits on Wonnarua country and that we are a Lids4Kids community collection point, so what better way to do it than paint Kuluwayn in traditional Aboriginal colours and decorate him with lids! His face and toenails have been specifically painted grey to reflect the original colour of koalas in the Australian bush. We have spread little clusters of lids on various parts of Kuluwayn’s body. Each section represents a symbol which is significant to our school.”

Those sections include Lochinvar Creek, meeting places, gardens, yarning circles and tracks and trails around the school.

He encourages people to bring lids to the school so we can reduce landfill and help others who are missing limbs.”

Colyton Public School, in western Sydney, drew upon Japanese influences to name their koala Mottainai, meaning ‘what a waste’ as they focussed on sustainable fashion.

We thought the name perfectly summed up our research about the monumental pollution caused by the textile industry and that as responsible consumers of fashion, we need to embrace the four R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.”

Mottainai is decorated in pictures of sustainable fibres such as flax, mohair and feathers, and is draped in a woollen scarf made by the students. The koalas feet are chained in synthetic fabrics.

The smaller structure on the side focuses on the concept of fast fashion, starting with a stop-motion animation created with lego to tell the journey of a pair of blue jeans. It is supported by statistics about the impact of fast fashion and is created by using cut-outs from high glossy fashion magazines.”

‘Everyone can make a difference’ was the theme for Coco, the Kreative Koala from Bellbird Public School in the Hunter Valley, who portrays initiatives developed by the school to support responsible consumption and production.

Coco’s head is decorated as a globe showing that it is everyone’s responsibility to think about and act upon making responsible decisions about our environment and all the people and animals of the world.

Coco’s ears are decorated with bowls of food. These represent us hearing the call to action from our homeless who require our assistance with nourishing food.

Coco’s eyes have glasses which we collected from our community to support people in third world countries who cannot afford or don’t have access to reading glasses.

Under Coco’s mouth is a toothbrush representing the terracycling of dental hygiene products we collected from our community to reduce landfill.

Across Coco’s body are items that can be effectively sorted into green waste, recycling or general rubbish, representing our commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling.”

Mega shoutout to our supporting partners helping young people solve tomorrow’s problems today


Kreative Koalas helping young people solve tomorrow’s problems today

‘Problem solving is the essence of what leaders do’

 “I’ve often contended that the best leaders are the best problem solvers. They have the patience to step back and see the problem at-hand through broadened observation; circular vision. They see around, beneath and beyond the problem itself. They see well-beyond the obvious. The most effective leaders approach problems through a lens of opportunity.” Karl Popper Source

Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge helps young people solve some of the world’s biggest challenges by giving them ownerhsip of the solutions. Using the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals each school participating in Kreative Koalas is tasked with choosing one main goal to study. Our schools have selected a wide range of SDGs, illustrating the variety of issues important to primary school students.

Continuing our series showcasing the 2019 Kreative Koalas artworks –  let’s have a look at their creative contributions that focus on SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 11 Sustainable Citiies and Communities and SDG 14 Life Below the Water.

Captain Waterways is the split personality koala from Medowie Christian School at Port Stephens who looked at SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. Half of Captain Waterways represents a healthy waterway; the other half represents an unhealthy one.

Captain Waterway’s main message is ‘Only Rain Down the Storm Drain’.

Inspired by a field visit with Jane from Hunter Local Land Services the Year 3 and 4 Medowie students came up with six initiatives to support clean water.

  1.  Don’t litter
  2. Pick up your dog’s poo
  3. Wash your car on the lawn or at a car wash
  4. Prevent sediment going down the drain
  5. Fix your leaky cars – oil is bad for our waterways
  6. Pick up grass clippings after you mow”

Another koala exhibiting signs of a split personality is Elanora from Oxley Park Public School with one side paying homage to Indigenous Australia.

The school and community are part of Darug land and therefore half of the koala is connected to our past. We wanted to represent water as giving life, hence the black silhouettes of water creatures. Water also gives life to communities and that is represented in the concentric circles on the koala.

Oxley Park students are working on a range of environmental projects and these are represented on the second half of Elanora, along with their key messages of “Think globally – act locally” and “small change – big impact”.

Elanora is a distinctly city-dwelling koala with ties to her Indigenous ancestry. The messages and mini sustainability projects depicted on her left side are testament to the student’s endeavours and genuine concern for leading a more sustainable lifestyle. By having two sides to Elanora showcases the unique, diverse cultural community of OPPS.”

Oxley Park combined several SDGs including 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and 14: Life Below the Water.

Cessnock Primary School also looked at SDGs 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and 14: Life Below the Water as they created Gumnut. Gumnut is also a split personality koala.

Our theme was to show two futures. One side was a good side, where we as a world choose to recycle and be sustainable. The other side of our Koala represents a world where we don’t recycle, and the world gets overrun with pollution and waste.”

At the beginning of their Kreative Koala journey students at Cessnock Primary School realised they did not have a recycling program and so their first step was to petition teachers for a bin. This idea became incorporated in Gumnut.

We designed a box, which the koala sits on, and the plinth doubles as a garbage bin that can be opened and removed from the back of the box. Stage 3 students empty it out in afternoons. The sides of the box match the koala. One side is bright and beautiful, the other is a beach littered with rubbish.”

Another split personality koala is Koral Koala from the students at Thornton Public School, in the Hunter Valley, who concentrated on SDG 14: Life Below the Water and, in particular, the effects of litter and pollution.

On one side is a clean flow of water with marine animals alive and well. On the other side is polluted water with litter scattered around. Our message was rain only down the drain.”

Koral incorporates a rainbow fish, made from chip-packets, spewing out storm water. She holds a net she is using to scoop litter from the water and she proudly wears a Thornton Public School hat.

On the ears we painted the aboriginal symbol for community – this was to show that as a community we need to come together to work to help save our environment.”

Also looking at Life Below the Water were students from St Michael’s Primary School at Nelson Bay who created Plastic Pete, a koala with a hidden message.

Students selected to create a beautiful ocean scene with the hidden message, just as plastics can be hidden in the ocean as they break-down.”

Plastic Pete has fabulous depictions of marine wildlife but students wanted to show the long-term impacts of plastics in the ocean.

Just because the ocean looks clean and beautiful, doesn’t always mean that there aren’t plastics there. They continue to persist in the food chain in smaller and smaller fragments. Plastic Pete is unique as appearances can be deceiving. Below his beautiful ocean scene lie a compilation of common single-use plastics, many of which were collected in our beach clean-up.

Mega shoutout to our supporting partners helping young people solve tomorrow’s problems today

Koalas and young people working together to live harmonioulsy

Continuing our series showcasing the Koala artworks of the school participating in 2019 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge

The United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals and each school participating in Kreative Koalas is tasked with choosing one main goal to study. Four of our 2019 schools chose SDG 15: Life on Land so let’s have a look at their creative artworks.

Harmony is the brilliantly coloured koala from Vacy Public School where students from Years 3 and 4 were assisted by aboriginal students from Years 5 and 6.

“Our theme is living in harmony with native flora and fauna on the land inspired by the Wonorua people who are the traditional custodians of our land.”

Using aboriginal art as their stylistic influence, students looked at how land use around Vacy has changed over time. Fishing from the local rivers is portrayed, as is bush tucker used by the Wonorua.  The words Balance and Harmony are painted on the koala’s arms, and the aboriginal design on her chest:

“represents a meeting place. Vacy Primary School is a meeting place in our village for children to come together to learn and share ideas on how we can look after our land, our animals and keep a balance between human needs and the sustainability of our world.”

Koko the Koala is the representative from Ropes Crossing Public School in Sydney’s west. Koko is delightfully colourful and comes with her own plants as she illustrates the importance of bees to Australian native fauna.

The students were involved with Hurlstone Agricultural High School/Western Sydney University’s No Bees No Future project and combined these learnings with Kreative Koalas.

“We came up with the brilliant idea to turn our Koko into a ‘pollination station’ meaning transforming Koko into the most magnificent pot plant you have ever laid your eyes on.”

In their research the Years 5 and 6 students also looked as SDGs 2: Zero Hunger, 3: Good Health and Wellbeing), 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and 13: Climate Change.

Over at Gresford Public School everybody from kindergarten to Year 6 was involved with the creation of Kara who came adorned with a straw hat and a motion sensor camera. Kara’s message was to know about, value and help Australian native wildlife, and in particular endangered animals.

Painted in solarguard so Kara can be placed in the school garden, the artwork depicts animals such as Tasmanian Devils, Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots and themes such as animal shelters, tree planting, tracking, posters and film-making. Kara even has poetry written by the students.

Kara has a personality and a “Voice” through the messages and QR codes which link to students reading their poems on the theme of nature. These links are webpages in our digital journal and our process has supported and valued authentic student voice.”

Students at Gresford Public School also created a fabulous video call to action

All 36 students at Bob’s Farm Public School drew inspiration from the Worimi language of the traditional custodians of Port Stephens to name their koala Ngunnawal (koala) Ngurra (land). Their koala uses collage and decoupage to illustrate sustainable farming.

“Students and teachers took part in the ‘Adopt a Farmer Initiative’ early in 2019. This experience allowed us to create a before and after sustainable practice theme to help identify how to maintain a sustainable and healthy environment.”

Ngunnawal Ngurra is covered by photographic and text cut-outs from magazines and newspapers that show the do’s and don’t’s of sustainable farming and what that looks like for life on land. The koala also illustrates issues pertinent to students such as sand mining at Bob’s Farm.

You can read more about Bob’s Farm Kreative Koalas project here 

Special shoutout to our Kreative Koalas supporting partners helping young people solve tomorrow’s problems today



Koalas and young people solving the world’s wicked problems together – taking Climate Action

Kreative Koalas Design a Bright Future Challenge brings together young people from urban and rural Australia to solve the challenge of achieving a sustainable poverty free world by 2030 using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals  as their inspiration

On a global scale achieving success will require

  • Bringing the right people together, in the right place, at the right time
  • Understanding there will be trade-offs and governments, businesses, the non-profit sector, and communities will need the courage to make difficult decisions based on thoughtful and genuine commitment to the SDGs.
  • Monitoring, evaluation and feedback loops

The Kreative Koalas project based learning model supports students and teachers to investigate the SDGs trade-offs and the difficult choices that will need to be made that may mean there will be winners and losers, at least in the short term.

Climate change (Goal 13) is a classic example. Those affected in the short term, such as fossil fuel companies and their workers, will perceive themselves as “losers” if they are forced to change, even though society as a whole will be a “winner” in the long-term by avoiding the tremendous risks and impacts of runaway climate change.

In 2019 three schools chose SDG 13: Climate Change to focus their Kreative Koalas’ artwork on. Let’s have a look at their creative artworks.

While looking at how climate change affects local koala populations, students in Years 3 to 6 at Raymond Terrace Public School collaborated with their Aboriginal Girl’s Group to produce a stunning koala called Mitjigan Guula, meaning girl koala in Worimi language.

The Raymond Terrace koala uses aboriginal story-telling and painting to send a contemporary message of what is happening on Worimi lands and how inaction on climate change leads to devastating bush fires.

“Just like our young RTPS Aboriginal Girl’s Group, this koala is a young female in an uncertain world. The Worimi girls are traditional custodians and they feel connected to their lands. Mother Earth has always provided for First Nation people a feeling of connection, a sense of belonging to the Earth, to all living things – the animals, the trees, the stars, one another. In culture there is balance. The female, mother, protective, nurturing in her essence, the vessel through which life is carried would be the symbolic metaphor to speak to the dangers of inaction on climate change.”

With a clever play on words Year 5 students at James Erskine Public School named their koala Climb It as they studied climate action. Climb It has been split down the middle to contrast, on one side, a world of inaction and complacency with, on the other, a world where the future has been transformed.

“What we could see and feel for ourselves – hotter days, longer drought, water restrictions, extreme weather, bags and bags of garbage headed to landfill, rubbish blowing across the playground, abandoned chicken coops and overgrown gardens… It was easy to see the changes that we needed to make.”

This became the theme for Climb It and the inspiration for images such as a compost bin, a Return and Earn bin, a drought affected farm, pollution, bees, bushfires and an hourglass that reflected students’ feelings that Earth is running out of time.

Students at Bennett Road Public School named their koala Dhara, which is Hindi for “planet Earth” and they began their project by asking “if you could change one thing in the world what would it be?” This led to Dhara becoming a depiction of the school lands’ history and an expression of the changes and initiatives the students want to make to their community.

Dhara has a garbage bag scarf to symbolise animals coming into contact with plastics, and a traditional hat with swinging corks to symbolise the fair dinkum Australian culture. It also has 3D motifs of flowers to represent the importance of bees to the environment.

“Our koala is unique as it tells the story of our area visually while spreading a message about how to look after the planet. Our art work is one of a kind – not only you can see the koala but you can interact with all the pieces that are stuck to it such as the rubbish, flowers and animals.”

Shoutout to our Kreative Koalas supporting partners for helping young people solve tomorrow’s problems today.




It you could change one thing about the world what would you do?

This was the challenge set for students at Bennett Road Public School as they embarked upon their 2019 Kreative Koalas project.

Through their research students came up with an enormous range of ideas including:

  • purchase of a hive to support bees,
  • purchase of tanks to conserve water,
  • expansion of the school garden to provide produce for the canteen,
  • investment in solar panels,
  • the reduction of food waste through worm farms and composting,
  • extension of the school recycling project
  • support of community initiatives such as Lids for Kids and Wands for Wildlife
  • recycling and repurposing clothes
  • planting of native trees and shrubs

After researching ways to make a difference students then made a case for change:

“Students through research, investigation and education realised the importance of the environment. They understood that the environment plays a crucial role in the healthy living of humans in the world.”

And defined a scope for action:

“We decided the best way to help the climate was to learn how to help so we could teach others and then start to make changes at the school together.”

This led to an action plan involving zero-cost changes at the school, minimal cost changes and long term goals that can be achieved through slow sustained implementation and evaluation.

“The cost of solar panels and water tanks are expensive and not always included in school budgets. There are ways around big ticket items such as applying for grants, entering competitions and getting sponsors. But educating the students about the cost and effects of using electricity has made them more aware and conscious about turning electricity off and limiting their uses of resources. Our students have become more environmentally aware and conscious”

Through their Kreative Koala journey the staff at Bennett Road Public School was proud of the knowledge and passion students displayed in their research and presentation of ideas, and their enthusiasm for change and how they can make a positive impact. This was tempered somewhat by the realisations that change can take money and time, and that not all in the community believe in climate change. However teachers were surprised at how students committed to sharing their knowledge with family and friends, and implementing change in their own households.

“Success for us is defined as students making changes themselves and educating others about changes they can make that will positively impact the future.

Success is having students passionately talking about the environment and thinking critically about the things they can do to help.

Success is creating a generation of environmental activists that are prepared to stand up and come up with imaginative plans to improve the future. Through education we can make sustainable lifelong change.”

Awesome work Bennett Rd Public School

Thank you to our supporting partners