Koala Smart is a Lions project aimed to inspire, motivate and educate primary and secondary school children, along with the local community, to actively participate and embrace change to slow the decline in koala populations within the local region.
Koala Smart is an educational and creative arts program for schools in the Port Macquarie Hastings and Kempsey Shire Council areas that fall within or near the local Area of Regional Koala Significance (ARKS). These are specific areas where Koalas are known to exist and where growth in a healthy koala population has been possible because of a valuable genetic diversity.
Over the course of the school calendar year, students will be asked to prepare a visual or written response to the question “What would you do to save the koala?” The school entries will be evaluated and a winning entry from both Primary and Secondary schools will each receive a full-size Hello Koalas sculpture painted in their school colours.
Visual and Written Response
Westport Campus is situated in a unique location, surrounded by the eucalyptus tress that are vital to the survival of the koala. When exploring the concept for our work we discussed the issue of land clearing and the effect it has had on the koala population. We decided to create a visual timeline to tell the story of how we can save the koala. We are lucky that we still have a presence of koalas around our environment.
The main koala depicted in our painting is Xena the Westport Warrior Princess. She was found, near death, on the road near the school after being hit by a car. With treatment she survived and was adopted by the school. The first panel in the triptych explores what the landscape would have been like before human intervention. The gum tree is prevalent and the koala is the main focus of the frame. The middle panel shows a silhouette of a house and tree stumps to symbolise the act of habitat destruction and the shadow that is cast upon our environment by humans. There are no koalas seen in this section of the painting. The red of the sun represents the destruction of habitat. The final panel evokes hope to the viewer, it shows a figure replanting eucalyptus tress in order to help revive the koala population. The koala can once again be seen in the treetops.