Ladner students helping animals injured in Australian wildfires

Category: DistrictSchool
Original article appears in Delta Optimist

As hundreds of fires continue to rage across Australia, the Grade 7 classes at Hawthorne Elementary in Ladner have worked together to support affected animals.

Many of the animals have been badly burnt and need marsupial pouches to protect them as they heal.

The students, along with a parent and school staff, created 75 marsupial pouches, which will be used to help the injured animals.

In the coming weeks, the pouches will be sent to the Animal Rescue Craft Guild in Australia, which will distribute them to areas where they’re most needed.

“There are 72 students in the two full-time Grade 7 classes and a split class,” said teacher Marisa Graham. “We were noticing a lot of media coverage on Australia and seeing the pictures of the badly burnt animals. Lots of people are donating money, so we thought why not create a project where the students could have some real ownership and be proud of doing for the cause.”

Graham said the Delta Thrift Shop donated some material and brought sewing machines into the school.

“We didn’t need a lot of supplies, it was more help with the work,” she said. “Getting the kids to cut properly, we had a few students who were good at it working on the sewing machines. Everyone played a part to help. We were able to complete the project in a day.”

Hawthorne Elementary is now inviting all other Grade 7 classes in Delta to join them in supporting the cause by creating their own items to help the animals. Although the guild has stopped accepting items temporarily while it takes stock of donations received, it will update its Facebook page shortly to highlight the items most in need.

“In Grade 7, the kids are really encouraged to take on leadership activities, because they are the leaders in the school, role models. For us, we can do things in the community, but when there is a crisis in parts of the world, we want them to learn to step up and try and help in any way that they can,” said Graham.

“Money is not always something that they can give, but time and labour, you can do that, so I think the kids felt really proud of themselves because they were able to contribute in a way that was effective and would help the animals.”