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Macclesfield PS - Saving The Leadbeater’s Possum

The Journey

In late 2012, Healesville Sanctuary invited Macclesfield Primary School to take part in their inaugural “Love Your Locals” project.

Set the challenge of creating a community awareness campaign and taking action to save the Leadbeater’s Possum in early 2013, students in grades 5 and 6 began the task with enthusiasm.

First term was spent researching the appearance, habitat, needs and threats of this highly endangered possum. Sourcing information from the Zoo’s website and Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum website made the job easy, with clear, readily understood facts, photographs and maps. Power-points were created and submitted, then viewed and discussed.

The next step was to brainstorm ideas for taking action. Many excellent ideas came forth. We were searching for something that would have maximum impact and the widest reach into our community and beyond. Amongst these ideas, a single student offered to write a picture story book. This became the focus for our action.

Many, many hours were spent writing and editing and re-editing the story. And then, of course, there were the illustrations; these also took hours, nights and weekends to complete. Seeing the quality of the writing and the pictures, a decision was made by the school to have the book printed. The students in grades 5 and 6 would organise and run a book launch and fundraising event to promote awareness of the plight of the Leadbeater’s Possum.Lunar the Leadbeaters Possum book

Our local library at Emerald offered to host the event in their function room. Steve Meacher, from the Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum, was invited to speak at the event and launch the book and Miranda Wills, Learning Experiences Manager, was also invited as a representative from Healesville Sanctuary.

Students from grades 5 and 6 set about designing posters to publicize the event throughout the wider community, whilst others made badges, ribbons, cards, colouring sheets, masks and face-painting kits to sell. Parents also supplied indigenous plants, an oil painting for silent auction and cute figurines of the possum for sale.

Back at school, we held a mini launch for the school community, raising even more funds and awareness!

At Macclesfield Primary School, we believe that by using such an appealing book as the centrepiece for our taking action, we have and will continue to have an impact on the wider community, raising awareness and support for the future conservation of this most delicate of creatures, Victoria’s faunal emblem – the Leadbeater’s Possum.

Susan Birch - Sustainability Teacher at Macclesfield Primary School

You can purchase copies of 'Lunar the Leadbeater's Possum' through the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater website.

Visit the Macclesfield Primary School website HERE.

PO Box 105, Anderson Street, Lilydale, VIC 3140
Tel:1300 368 333
Fax: 9735 4249
lfs@yarraranges.vic.gov.au
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