For young children, instilling in them a knowledge and love of nature through experiences of the natural world is very important. It is the first and most gentle step in producing adults of the future who will be actively involved in living their everyday lives in a way which does the least harm to the environment.
The appeal of koalas, and the fact that there are many issues surrounding their conservation, makes them an ideal vehicle to teach students of all ages about the many and varied aspects of conservation. However, because there are these issues, we believe it’s important that while we educate our students about the problems for koalas and about other environmental issues, they are not left feeling powerless and overwhelmed by the negative aspects of the situation, and by the state of the environment in general.
Therefore, we believe that having stated the situation for koalas, it’s vital to empower students by encouraging them to play their part in helping, not just in the conservation efforts to save the koala but in other environmental issues as well.
Not everyone is in a position to raise funds, and it’s important that students know that even simple actions can help make a difference.
Here are some suggestions on ways that your students can be involved, at varying levels, in koala conservation.
Children who live in areas where koalas are also living can be encouraged to take actions at home to protect them by:
- Learning as much as they can about koalas, and how they use the bushland, from our website.
- Reading the Living with Koalas section of our website and taking some of the actions suggested on there, such as ensuring that a copy of that information and the phone number of the local wildlife rescue service is carried in the family car in the event of them encountering an injured koala.
- Educating their parents and neighbours about koalas and their needs.
- Being responsible pet owners – tying up their dogs at night etc,
- Reminding their parents to drive carefully, especially at night when koalas are moving around.
- Offering to help local koala groups with tree planting etc
- Raising funds for a local koala group
Here are some other simple and meaningful ways that students everywhere can become involved:
- Write letters to politicians and newspapers voicing their concerns about wildlife issues, especially those in relation to koalas;
- Write to the AKF to tell us their thoughts about koalas and to encourage us in our work. Everyone needs encouragement and we do love to hear what children have to say about koalas and the environment. All letters and emails are answered.
- Spread the word: Prepare a talk to present to their class and to others in the school, or to their Guide or Scout group. The more people there are who know about the fact that koala habitat needs to be protected, the more people there will be to do something about it. We rely on those who already support us to pass the message on to others.
- It’s important that children do not think about koalas in isolation from the rest of the environment. Therefore, we like them to know that they are ultimately helping koalas by taking actions such as planting trees, recycling, using cloth shopping bags instead of plastic etc, to improve the environment in their own area, even if there are no koalas living there. By taking some of these actions, they will also be a good example to other people to do the right thing for the environment, thereby helping make our world a cleaner, safer, more pleasant place for all of us to live.