Shining the spotlight on Tarrawanna Public School and the power of the Living Classroom Concept


Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future has wrapped up for another year with students from multiple schools exploring the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) and taking their peers, their families and their communities on a sustainability journey. One such school is Tarrawanna Public School.

“Tarrawanna Public School (TPS) has been building a culture of sustainability over the past three years. When our principal, Bronwyn Jeffree, started at TPS, she recognised the gaps in sustainability learning and introduced ‘The Living Classroom’ project run by Aaron Sorenson at Elemental Permaculture. Aaron is amazing at what he does and has been instrumental in encouraging sustainability at TPS.” assistant principal Kelly Judd says.

The Living Classroom provided foundations and focus for the school’s sustainability journey.

“The Living Classroom is a permaculture classroom where students establish and maintain different systems,” Aaron says, examples of which include a 4-seasons vegetable garden, composting, biodiversity and themed gardens such as tropical food forests where pawpaw and banana now bear fruit.

The Living Classroom demonstrates care of country. We are informed by the legacy of Indigenous people and are setting up frameworks to work with traditional land owners. At Tarrawanna it is, most importantly, a reconciliation garden,” Aaron continues.

The Living Classrooms are designed by Aaron Sorenson and Dan Deighton of Elemental Permaculture 

Sustainability at Tarrawanna comes from kids teaching kids. As older students (known as Environmental Leadership Ambassadors) progress through The Living Classroom project, they impart their knowledge and understanding to the younger children so that all students from K-6 have some form of sustainability participation. That may be food-scrap collection for the compost, weeding, mulching or harvesting.

“What we hear from our students is they will correct each other if something is placed the in the wrong bin.  They understand the value of the food scraps and how important it is to the garden and the ecosystems,” Kelly says.

The message also reaches families and communities.

“Our experience shows sustainability conversations go home. We’ve had parents ask if they can come in for our Living Classroom lessons (joining their children in a lesson). In these instances, the child becomes the teacher, as students excitedly share ideas about sustainability and the things they can improve around the home to be more sustainable. Families report they have planted vegetable gardens, have chicken coups and are composting,” Kelly says.

TPS furthered their sustainability journey in 2022 when they participated in Kreative Koalas, which inspired them to connect with Wollongong City Council to jointly create a Tiny Forest for the preservation of local wildlife.

“The project has encouraged wildlife back into the area and the students and community monitor the types of animals returning,” Kelly says.

Combining the Tiny Forest, which provides food for native animals, and permaculture gardens, which provide food for students and the community, led TPS to study SDG 2: Zero Hunger for their Kreative Koalas project.

The artwork on their koala Mr T B Kind (short for ‘to be kind’) depicts the animals seen in the permaculture garden and in the Tiny Forest including native bees, kookaburras, the black cockatoo and the iconic Tarrawanna water dragons. These mosaic animals, on Mr T B Kind, are made from re-purposed broken tiles that were discovered as garden beds were created.

“Our Kreative Koala has our community talking. He is the icon in our garden and the children take great delight in sharing the story of why a decorated koala now lives in our school,” Kelly says.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rounding out the Kreative Koalas project was an open day held at the school with invitations to parents and community members to visit classrooms and see firsthand the sustainability learning that is happening at Tarrawanna Public School.

“We are very proud of our sustainability efforts and how it has connected our community,” Kelly says.

Congratulations to everyone at Tarrawanna Public School for being a leading light on how sustainability, through programs such as The Living Classroom and Kreative Koalas, can become embedded in the community.



Robertson Public School making sustainability sustainable and preparing their students for the Green Jobs of the Future .

Students from Robertson Public School with teacher John Crompton and Costa Georgiadis at the Kreative Koalas Awards and Celebration ceremony on December 1st 2022 at Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens

“Young people increasingly see the green credentials of businesses and industries as a key factor influencing their  career choices.”

Kreative Koalas, with generous support from the St Vincent de Paul Society, sees many forms of sustainability and environmental commitment in primary schools. At Robertson Public School they believe in making sustainability sustainable.

“We promote environmental protection and education at Robertson Public School in a couple of ways. We work with the Robertson Environmental Protection Society, to preserve remnant rainforest on our extensive grounds (10 acres), which has inspired us to establish a Tiny Forest.

We are part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden initiative and we have a potting shed and raised garden beds to grow vegetables that go back into our canteen. We have introduced a beehive into the school and will be adding another next year to encourage native bees into the school grounds and to further promote sustainability.

We have a Sustainable Schools grant to establish a glasshouse where we can raise vegetable and native plant seedlings. We are going to create a Farm Gate and sell vegetable seedlings, surplus produce and honey to our local community and whatever money we raise from that goes back into our sustainability practices and in particular into building our Tiny Forest.

But most importantly, we want to make sure our sustainability is sustainable and is something that we can carry forward through a number of years.” principal Gordon Parrish says.

Gordon realises that to do this requires not only the support of students but also their parents and the wider community. Parents and grandparents come into the school to work in the gardens alongside their children and to share their own knowledge. The school is part of the Share Our Space program that encourages community members to use the school grounds during holidays and after school hours, and the students connect with local businesses with a similar sustainability mindset.

Moonacres is a local café that also has an ethical farm out of town that supplies to restaurants in the area. Our Stage 3 kids will be visiting the farm four times next year to look at crop rotation in different seasons, and then we are going to try and mirror that back at school,” Gordon says.


While Robertson Public School currently reports to parents on activities such as recycling, 2023 will see the students take a bigger responsibility in sharing the sustainability message with the community. They plan to create instructional videos on school activities such as building native bee hotels and vegetable gardens and post these to social media.

In 2022 the sustainability message was informed by participation in Kreative Koalas where students raised awareness of all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The SDG were painted on their koala named Koala T, a reference to the number of times the word ‘quality’ appears in the goals (quality education, gender equality, reduced inequalities). Koala T will become part of the Tiny Forest once planting is completed but for now she sits in the school’s bush medicine garden.

“I think the koala will take centre stage on all our sustainability programs and be a good strong reminder of the practices we are aiming for within our school and community. The kids are the driving force behind our projects and the koala will be the symbol of that,” Gordon says.

With all the Christmas rush over and the New Year beginning, why not take some time and have a walk around the Kreative Koalas on display in the Birchgrove at the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens

Announcing the Action4Agriculture Grand Champion Koalas and Archies


The Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens in Bowral came alive with cows and koalas on December 1st as Action4Agriculture crowned the winners of  The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas.


Celebrating resilience and grit, the awards ceremony was a testament to teachers and students who explored ways to show leadership, inspire hope, strengthen their communities, and design a bright future despite the challenges of the pandemic years


Special guest Costa Georgiadis was on hand to crown the champion schools who were:

  • 2020 Grand Champion Archibull – Penrith Valley School from western Sydney

  • 2022 Grand Champion Archibull – the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education from western Sydney

  • 2020 Grand Champion Kreative Koala – St Brigid’s Primary School from Raymond Terrace

  • 2022 Grand Champion Kreative Koala – Tarrawanna Public School from Wollongong

All schools were tasked with examining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, designing, and delivering a community action project, creating a movement to embed sustainability thinking and actions in our way of life


The students presented their learnings through art on either their fibreglass cow (secondary schools) or koala (primary schools).


Special awards presented on the day were:

  • The Carmel Mills Memorial Award for Learning with Impact – Chevalier College from the Southern Highlands (The Archibull Prize) and Scot’s All Saints College from Bathurst (Kreative Koalas)
  • The Alan Eagle Watershed Moment Award – Hill Top Public School for reporting sustainability alongside core curriculum subjects on student report cards

Action4Agriculture is grateful for the support of Corteva Agriscience, NSW Government, St Vincent de Paul, Austral Fisheries, Wingecarribee Shire Council and Southern Highland Botanic Gardens which allows The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas to be delivered into schools.

These programs empower our students to look at our world differently, explore sustainability and environmental issues that affect our planet and design local solutions to global challenges.


Please contact Lynne Strong for photos from the event M: 0407 740 446 IE:





The Living Classroom Project – more than just a school garden

Kreative Koalas 2022 has once again introduced us to a cohort of exciting, future-focused young people in primary schools with vivid imaginations and a drive to create a better and brighter world. It has also introduced us to The Living Classroom Project, an outdoor classroom where students build permaculture systems and become leaders as Garden Ambassadors.

The Living Classroom is the brainchild of Aaron Sorensen and Daniel Deighton from Elemental Permaculture, who together have over forty years of experience in making the Illawarra region a better place to live. Daniel is a specialist in environmental restoration and a landscape architect, who has previously been involved with the transformation of Tom Thumb Lagoon at Port Kembla. Aaron has a background in education and art and a life-long appreciation of the power of permaculture to make positive change.

“We both shared a vision to create a life-long learning pathway for young people and respond to what was happening in the Illawarra with the environmental, social, cultural and spiritual impact of industry and the port. We found permaculture a positive movement that we could use as a tool to engage communities in a conversation and initiate projects,” Aaron says.

The first school Aaron and Daniel worked with was Cringila Public School.

“BlueScope wanted to invest money in a school that was directly impacted by industry and Cringila was on the site of an artificial coal seam fire, which was created by slag and coal wash that could not be processed by existing technology, We built a garden using permaculture ethics, which are care of earth, care of people and fair share and from there created a program for the children to maintain the garden and become leaders, or Garden Ambassadors, for students coming after them.” Aaron says.

Cringila Public School Living Classroom 

The Living Classroom Project took flight.

When a Living Classroom is established in a school it becomes much more than just a garden; it becomes a living environment with systems that balance food production, biodiversity and sustainable natural resource management, while also a social environment where children and the school community can come together to share and learn new skills. Projects include:

  • Soil building
  • Composting
  • No-dig gardening
  • Green Manure
  • Chop and Drop (with woodchips to inoculate fungi)
  • Food gardens
  • Animal systems such as chickens and bees
  • Wildlife corridors
  • Aquatic systems
  • Outdoor kitchens, and
  • Spaces for people to gather

Daniel now works with schools across the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane following his relocation to Queensland. Aaron continues to work with schools in the Illawarra including Tarrawanna Public School who participated in Kreative Koalas this year.

“Teaching and learning are so enriched through The Living Classroom Project.  Aaron has been leading the way on permaculture gardening for 3 years at Tarrawanna Public School.  The lessons develop student understanding not only of permaculture, but also of science, mathematics, history, geography and art.  The program runs with our S2 students, but what we find is so many students want to continue with their learning in the following years, they want to come back as mentors and leaders [Garden Ambassadors] to the younger students. Aaron makes an unbelievable connection with the students; his passion ignites and engages the eagerness in the children to want to continue their learning of sustainability,” Kelly Judd, Tarrawanna assistant principal, says.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Garden Beds at Tarrawanna Public School

Food produced in Living Classrooms is prepared for school consumption or taken home to families and communities, which has encouraged backyard gardens, one visible and practical impact of the project. David Lamb, director of Education Leadership, Wollongong Network with the NSW Department of Education sees other impacts.

“The number one impact is engagement; it makes kids want to go to school. Kids that may be disengaged in the normal classroom become champions in the Living Classroom because learning has meaning for them and it is real. It also encourages cross-cultural respect as kids work together in the garden and it taps into caring for the earth and caring for people, which develops compassion and empathy. It is a wonderful, wonderful project,” he says.

The ethos of Kreative Koalas is to enable young people to design a bright future, particularly in the face of challenges such as COVID and climate change. The Living Classroom Project lives by similar aspirations.

“Something as small as composting waste or growing food is about taking the power back. It gives kids hope and an opportunity to be in control and I truly believe young people, who become creative learners through engagement with nature, have the capabilities to lead us to where we need to go,” Aaron concludes.

Action4Agriculture founder Lynne Strong joined Aaron and teacher Mrs Harris at Fairy Meadow Demonstration School to see what a day in the garden looks and feels like for the students

The Living Classroom has been sponsored by BlueScope Steel for 18 years and there are currently 24 schools in the Illawarra region in various stages and sizes with full Living Classrooms at Five Islands Secondary College (year 12 HSC subject in permaculture), Warrawong High School, Cringila Public, Port Kembla Public, Tarrawanna Public, Fairy Meadow Public, St Pats at Port Kembla, Illawarra Sports High and Warrawong Public.

Watch Five Islands secondary College showcased on Gardening Australia here 

Permaculture expert and educator Aaron Sorenson shares The Living Classroom design model 




#Action4Agriculture #KreativeKoalas #LivingClassrooms #YouthVoices



See how our 2022 Kreative Koala Kids are helping design their own bright future

The final three schools of the 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge have taken three different approaches to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and explored ways we can all contribute to a sustainable future. Let’s have a look at their koala artworks.

The students of Tarrawanna Public School tackled SDG 2: Zero Hunger as they created Mr T B Kind, a koala that brought together the whole school across multiple Key Learning Areas, with the theme of feeding the community.

Mr T B Kind is a mosaic koala inspired by the school environment using broken tiles, which were found as garden beds were prepared, to represent native animals such as cockatoos, bees and dragonflies. Mr T B Kind has a realistic mottled grey body and will be a striking and welcoming mascot to open classroom exhibitions.

“Our Koala created connections between our students, community and collaborators. The biggest and most exciting outcome was not only did the Kreative Koala initiative inspire Zero Hunger for community, but it has triggered special interest projects on sustainability across K-6 which we will be showcasing to community members.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At Turvey Public School, near Wagga Wagga, students took a look at SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production as they created Billy Barrandhang, a vibrant and detailed koala. Involving all classes across art, science and geography, Billy aimed to show:

“we all belong to one earth and we are all responsible for protecting its beauty”

Billy was created using ideas the students derived from Australia’s magnificent landscapes and natural features and is a celebration of a place to call home.

“Billy discretely embeds our entire school community and culture through the symbols painted on the koala. The flags in the ears of the koala represent each student and staff member to show our whole school approach towards sustainability and equality. The koala has our school core values written on the feet; resilience, responsibility and respect all which are integral to growing a healthy world. The crow wings are holding up the heart shape Earth on our koala making it unique because it symbolises our school totem and how the world’s future is in our hands.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Warrawee Public School took Kreative Koalas literally and launched a campaign to Save The Koalas, naming their creation “Eila”.

“Children chose to call our art koala Eila after one of our sponsored koalas. Elia is a heroic koala who survived the Mambo wetlands fire in Port Stephens in December 2018 with a baby on her back and pregnant with another. The children see her as resilient and a hero for being able to escape the fires and then survive the treatment in Port Stephens hospital as she had badly burnt paws from climbing a burning tree.”

Students realised bushfires effect flora as well as fauna and as a result Eila is adorned with gum leaves, waratahs, kangaroo paw and wattle alongside native animals fleeing the smoke of the fire, which curls across Eila’s back. Indigenous designs illustrate a connection to Country and green represents renewal.

“The green of the gum represents the regeneration of the Australian bush and though it takes time the children felt this was important as life starts again and gives us hope for the plight of the koalas.”


Congratulations to all schools and students participating in the 2022 Kreative Koalas. Collectively students have explored a total of nine Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 14: Life Below Water
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Our 2022 Kreative Koalas entries are caring for their local environments

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.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

#CreatingABetterWorldTogether #SDGs


Our Kreative Koalas Kids in Newcastle are creating a better world together

With 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to choose from it is no wonder our 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future primary schools explored a world of diversity. For example, just three schools in our Newcastle cluster investigated five different SDG:

  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Looking at SDG 15 and 13 to investigate the effects of fire were students from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School who named their koala “Alinta”. Alinta illustrates the effects of both unmanaged bushfires and controlled cultural burns.

To show these contrasting fire regimes Alinta became a split-personality koala. Bright colours on Alinta’s back represent the destruction of out-of-control bushfires, while cooler colours represent regrowth after managed cultural burns. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Years 1-6 assisted in creating traditional art for inclusion on Alinta and the local Aboriginal community taught all the students about managing the land with fire.

“Our entire school community was positively impacted by our involvement in the Kreative Koala program. All students were educated about the negative impacts of out-of-control bush fires on our climate, communities and wildlife. Students are now armed with the knowledge of how we can take on Aboriginal ways of healing the land through fire and feel hopeful about the difference we can make.”


Looking at SDG 3 and 5 were students from St Joseph’s Primary School who designed a koala named, appropriately, Joseph (or Joey for short!). Involving Year 4 and 5 students across PDHPE, Mathematics, Science and English, Joseph represents sports and physical activities the students can participate in to remain healthy.

Joseph is resplendent in green and gold, Australia’s national sporting colours, and adorned with both the Australian and Aboriginal flags. Hand-drawn pictures across the koala represent the activities the students enjoy and the inclusion of the Olympic rings alludes to aspirations for the future.

“We used our love of different sports to create this original design and we showed the statue the same respect that we would for a living creature.”

Students from St Paul’s Primary School chose SDG 7 and created Kristie, the sustainability warrior,

to promote energy saving tips, to demonstrate the most efficient forms of clean renewable energy and promote the work of climate activists Greta Thunberg and Pope Francis in our school and community”.

Kristie is a smart-looking environmental activist koala. She wears a hat featuring solar-powered fans and a shirt showcasing clean energy sources such as hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal. Images of traditional bush tucker remind us to take only what we need and Baiame, the creator, represents the knowledge we can learn from Aboriginal nations.

“We have given Kristie a shirt advertising climate action. We believe clothing is a great way to advertise and promote how to save energy. Greta [Thunberg] is currently going after fast fashion as a new initiative … [and we wanted] to support climate activists like Greta to keep governments accountable for their role in saving the environment.”

Congratulations to all schools in our Newcastle cluster for showcasing the diversity of the Sustainable Development Goals.

#CreatingBetterWorldTogether #SDGs


Bee-utiful creations. Our 2022 Kreative Koalas entries explore the beautiful world of bees

Three schools in our 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge chose to use their fibreglass koalas to explore the benefits of bees in our world, and to highlight the challenges bees face. Interestingly , the study of bees incorporated multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 13: Climate Change, SDG 14: Life Below Water and SDG 15: Life on Land.


Let’s take a look at their bee-utiful creations.

Collaborating under the banner of the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education were students from three primary schools – Bilpin, Kurrajong East and Blue Mountains Steiner – who put their vivid imaginations together to produce a koala named “Ngalaya”.

“Ngalaya” is Darug for ally or friend in battle – fitting in our Koala who will assist us in educating students across NSW in how they protect the future for our pollinators.”

The honey-coloured Ngalaya features local native bees as alternatives to European honeybees and illustrates their habitat and honey production with 2D and 3D creations ranging from life-sized to macro. There is even a Fibonacci Sequence (mathematical sequence) that is so often replicated in nature.

“Our koala is unique because it is a means of demonstrating how native pollinators are essentially entwined with current and emerging sustainable agricultural practices in order to work towards guaranteeing future food security for Australia, and potentially the human race as a whole.”

Also on the bee-wagon were students from Hamilton Public School who created a bold yellow and black koala named “Clancy” to demonstrate the importance of bees to the ecosystem and food security.

“If we can put in place practices that protect bees in our own back yard, then the impact can permeate through the community and positively contribute toward achieving SDG 15, 2, 11 and 13.”

With motifs depicting beehives, antennas on his head and a pink rose in his mouth, Clancy is one smart-looking koala. Clancy will proudly stand in the school’s Blue Gate Garden, an established project that has been incorporated into previous Kreative Koala competitions, where he will be a symbol of sustainability and the pursuit of a better future.


The final school taking a deep-dive into the world of bees was St Brigid’s Primary School who designed “Girrga” (meaning native bee in the Gathang language). Girrga gives voice to the problems soft plastics present in the environment, the plight of local butterflies and bees and the challenges faced by bees by the current Varroa mite infestation.

As a result, Girrga is a vibrant koala with a bee for a nose, a giant butterfly across her back, and plastics on her limbs, surrounded by multi-coloured flower designs across her body.

“We really wanted to portray the bright and vibrant colours of country. The bees are on our koala’s toes to represent how they are currently missing in our environment due to the Varroa mite disaster.  We believe our koala is unique because not only does she represent the concern we have for the environment and local habitats due to wasteful packaging, but she also spotlights a current issue of the plight of bees in our local area.”


Thank you to all students who have shown us the value of bees in our communities and environment and their contribution to our future food security.

#SDGs #CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Meet Warada – the koala who symbolises resilience and renewal.

Its getting to the pointy end of the 2022 Kreative Koalas Design a Bright Future Challenge and the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education was excited to share their artwork with the world yesterday

Visit the students Digital Learning Journal here

This is what they had to say

Introducing ‘Warada’ our Kreative Koala.

Her name, Warada is the Darug word for Waratah and she symbolises resilience and renewal.
Please take a minute to read her amazing story of students, plants, community, resilience and renewal…..
Warada has been part of an 18 month project at the Centre, working with primary schools across the Hawkesbury. Her design began in an Aboriginal primary student leader workshop we held with schools in June 2021, exploring native plants of the Hawkesbury and their uses for food, fibre and other uses and an introduction to plant and soil sciences.
We had to cancel the following workshops due to COVID lock downs, however this gave us a new approach. We were able to engage additional students from across the Hawkesbury region in the project through our weekly learning from home challenges. Students researched plants from their local area and presented their learning in artist design, journalistic prose and educational materials. We were able to sustain this program throughout the greater lock down period. We have built a learning website that is connected to Warada which includes the input of all students.
Warada tells the story of plant communities from Bilpin to the floodplains around Londonderry and Windsor Downs. Beginning in Bilpin, at the head of our Warada, with an actual Waratah flower front and centre, and the endangered Gordon’s Wattle inside the ears, which has regrown in the area following the devastating fires when it was feared the species had been wiped out.
Our journey continues along Bells Line of Road, down Warada’s back, through Kurrajong where we have seed-pods, blossoms and leaves of the Kurrajong Tree running down one side of the road, and a Sassafras Scar Tree, from base to canopy, along the other. Across the Hawkesbury River, the road continues towards the Castlereagh, Agnes Banks and Windsor Downs nature reserves where, if you look carefully, you can find the endangered Nodding Geebung blooms and fruits, as well as an endangered yellow pea flower known as the ‘Sydney bush pea’ (Pultenaea Parviflora) and a rare tiny purple ‘Grass lily’ (Murdannia Graminea).
The front of Warada displays a burnt log with a vibrant bud bursting from its centre, mirroring Warada’s meaning. This is flanked by Australia’s beloved Flannel Flowers and Grass Trees.
Warada, and the entire project, proved itself to be about resilience and renewal. We started working with the primary school communities immediately after the bushfires and then the first flood. We worked with them online during lock-down and have connected again between 2022 flood events.
We are fortunate to have some of those students as part of our AGSTEM Yr 7 cohort this year and in 2023.
Congratulations to all the schools of the Hawkesbury and their students, who connected in some way to the Hawkesbury Plant project and the development of Warada.

More good news for our koalas from Raymond Terrace Public School

Following on from our blog on Warrawee Care Centre and their student’s work to save koalas and support Port Stephens Koala Hospital, we have more good news to share.

Back in the 2019 edition of Kreative Koalas 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 the school incorporated indigenous designs on their artwork to look at the effects of climate change on koala populations. And, in what unfortunately proved to be timely, the koala portrayed how inaction on climate change can lead to devastating bushfires.

The students donated their Grand Champion prize money and Mitjigan Guula to the Port Stephens Koala Hospital.

In 2020 Raymond Terrace Public School continued their Kreative Koala journey by investigating traditional aboriginal methods of firestick farming and modern issues around bushfires, especially in regards to the plight of the koala. In 2020 the school was awarded joint winner of best artwork.

Roll forward to 2022 and on August 11, the Port Stephens Koala Hospital was officially opened with special guest Hon. Tanya Plibersek, Federal Minister for Environment and Water – and Mya Bolte and Kytaya Bolt-Wells who were part of the 2019 Raymond Terrace Kreative Koala entry.

Mya and Kytaya now attend Hunter River High School and were invited to the opening ceremony in recognition of their work to protect koalas. They were called on stage where Port Stephens Koala Hospital Ron Land thanked them for the school’s custodianship and donations. In return, Kytaya spoke a few words of thanks.

While we here at Action4Agriculture like to share good news stories such as this, it is estimated there are only 250-300 koalas left in the Port Stephens area and that, without intervention, they could be extinct in NSW by 2050. Our Kreative Koala kids can lead us all on a journey of koala recovery.

#kreativekoalakids #youthvoices #creatingabetterworldtogether