Winning entries, which highlight “amazing creativity, energy and amount of work” include the competition’s first wannabe turtle, showcasing caring for country, and a disco jiving koala who warns our planet is burning
The 2020 winners of the world-renowned schools program Kreative Koalas, where students paint a blank fibreglass koala to depict a sustainability theme, have been unveiled
In a year full of challenges, the winning category entries from the schools illustrate extraordinary talent, determination and effort, said judge and globally-renowned community change expert Les Robinson.
“I’m gobsmacked by the amazing creativity, energy and amount of work put into all of the projects,” said Les, adding that the students thought logically and introduced concrete actions for change in their school and community.
The winners include St Brigid’s Primary School in Raymond Terrace in the NSW Hunter Valley with their unique “Hunter Bila Guraa”, which scooped the Best Digital Learning Journey prize.
Sitting on a river depicting one healthy, green, tree-lined embankment that turtles need, and one drought stricken burnt side which makes them so vulnerable to predators, his head is decorated with the Aboriginal flag colours to represent caring for country.
The animal, whose name means “Hunter River Turtle” in the Gathang language of the Worimi people, is a koala who wanted to become a turtle and has a large version of the latter painted on his back.
“The yellow lines coming away from his nose portray him as a warrior, as we have become biodiversity warriors through this journey,” said the students, who also wanted to represent four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their entry.
Sporting a shirt literally off a farmer’s back, “Dusty Paddocks”, co-winner of the Best Artwork prize, is the environmental superhero brainchild of Caragabal Public School in Caragabal, central west NSW, who have suffered a three-year drought and were last year featured on ABC Behind the News
His shirt, donated by a local family, is coated with pot fragments to evoke visions of a parched earth. But it opens at the front to reveal a Superman suit, representing the power that kids have to save our planet.
“It is about the hope for a better future for their land and their families,” said the students.
Annangrove Public School in Sydney’s west are co-winners of the Best Community Action Project with their project to “transform our food systems to transform the world” to help out the hungry, educate others, and reduce their “food footprint”.
The ongoing legacy of their Kreative Koalas journey sees students hold “Waste Free Wednesdays”, share regular tips on sustainable practices in the school newsletter, and donate eggs and vegetables from a new garden to a nearby community kitchen, who they sponsor.
“The surprising thing for us was how easy it became to incorporate sustainability into our everyday lives, and not just in terms of food,” said the students
Raymond Terrace Public School in the Hunter Valley, who are co-winners of the Best Artwork award, came up with a cool koala with a disco mirror ball for a head who jives to “Burn Baby Burn”.
But “Disco Inferno” also carries a grim warning: we will continue to see the extreme and unsustainable effects of global warming, including horiffic bushfires, devastating populations and native species and environments unless action is taken.
“As the Kreative Koala project evolved, we journeyed more towards the awareness of what was occurring globally with bushfires and responded reflectively to the experiences of Australian communities in 2019/2020,” said the students.
Co-winners of the Best Community Action project, Medowie Christian School Primary in the Hunter Valley, took a multi-pronged project approach, starting a kindergarten garden and foodway tin drive later. The students also participated in the OzHarvest FEAST program, through which pupils learnt how to prepare food and cook sustainably. The students’ efforts where featured on ABC radio and in local paper the Port Stephens Examiner.
“Its just extraordinary what is happening in our schools. I take my hat off to all these committed teachers and their problem solver students. They make us all proud of our education system” says Action for Agriculture program director Lynne Strong
Martha Atkins from Medowie Christian School shares her Kreative Koalas journey tips and tricks here
“The schools were chosen as winners because they started with big global problems, for example hunger. Then they logically drilled down to identify realistic actions students could really do to make a real difference.
This was backed up with research, and creative reports which were clear and enjoyable to read.
The projects were hands-on, for instance the ones that involved growing and cooking your own food which is the best way to make a change because you don’t just tell people why, you show them how,” says project judge Les Robinson.
The Kreative Koalas school program is one of Action for Agriculture flagship initiatives and we look forward to bringing together the winners for a celebratory event, where the Grand Champion will be announced, when COVID restrictions are lifted.
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