Despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic, which meant the closing of schools and home learning for students, participants in the 2022 Kreative Koalas have risen to the occasion and come up with some fabulous Koala artworks. Let’s have a look at four schools who chose to focus on their own backyards as they cared for their local community and environment.
Ladysmith Public School, near Wagga Wagga, took a look at the presence and impact of salinity along their local Kyeamba Creek as they created the aptly named “Saltbush” while studying SDG 15: Life on Land.
“On our walking tour of some neighbouring farming land, we observed many trees that appeared to have died. These trees were on land that had previously been identified as a discharge site, where salinity had been a problem. One beautiful [dead] tree, became the focus of our artwork and we used this as the major design element on the back of the koala.”
Saltbush represents a personal journey for the students and community of Ladysmith, highlighting an environmental problem but also celebrating the beauty of their home. In bold colours Saltbush depicts the dead tree and Kyeamba Creek alongside the bright yellow of wattle and the blue/grey of the saltbush plant. White dots across the koala represent rising salt and how it infiltrates the soil.
Also inspired by SDG 15: Life on Land is “Warada” (the Darug name for Waratah), which symbolises resilience and renewal. Warada is the Kreative Koala creation from a group of Hawkesbury schools under the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education banner, which includes Kurmond, Bilpin, Windsor Park, Kurrajong, Kurrajong North, Kurrajong East, Wilberforce, Richmond North and Comleroy Road schools.
This wonderful collaborative effort has produced a koala that represents the benefits and beauty of local native flora, depicted on Warada as intricate black and white botanical designs with a stripe of blue representing the Hawkesbury River across his back and a brown seedling of renewal on his chest.
“[Warada is] a botanical journey following Bells Line of Road from Bilpin, through the Kurrajong area, across the Hawkesbury River down to the Castlereagh, Agnes Banks, and Windsor Downs nature reserves.”
Lake Albert Public School (near Wagga Wagga) had only to look out their school windows to derive inspiration from Lake Albert itself and they named their creation Barrandhang, which means koala in the local Wiradjuri language.
Barrandhang is a blue koala reflecting the connection between the students and the lake, with two limbs painted brown to express how the lake would look like with uncontrolled pollution. Striking orange/pink ears represent the sunsets the lake gifts to the students each day and across the body of the koala are detailed footprints representing local wildlife including duck, platypus, honeyant, goanna, frog, turtle,
, fish and possum. Coloured icons represent the school’s goals to recycle, reuse and reduce food waste.
“We are fortunate at Lake Albert Public School to be situated next to the lake and to be able to enjoy its beauty and wildlife every day. We couldn’t aim for a sustainable school environment without including our passion for a healthy and sustainable water environment.”
Also looking at their local waterways was Scots All Saints College from Bathurst who championed the plight of platypus that suffered a local extinction event during the last drought. The students chose SDG 13: Climate Change and used Biladurang (or Bill for short) to express this environmental problem in Winburndale River.
One side of Biladurang represents a robust and healthy ecosystem, the other side is fiery and dark to show the consequences of too little water being released from the dam to the river. A giant platypus rides on his back and across his body are casuarina leaves, platypus and rakali (native water rat) habitat and insects. Bill is a thoughtful reflection of the local environment and the passion the students have to manage it (and platypus populations) in a sustainable way.
“We want to let people know that climate change is changing our planet, which forced local government to make a decision about the platypus [when] the council stopped releasing water from Winburndale Dam [during the drought]; so the rivulet dried up and we had a local extinction.”
Congratulations to these four schools who have found passion and appreciation in their local environment and used Kreative Koalas as a vehicle to express their connection and to share their concerns with their communities.