By Lyonel Doherty
Badly burned animals in Australia are receiving compassion from a group of young environmentalists in Oliver.
The Green Club at Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School is raising money through the Red Cross to help countless animals impacted by Australia’s devastating wildfires.
“We decided because of the horrible dilemma there in Australia that it would be nice to fundraise and focus the money to help out some of the koalas and kangaroos,” said teacher Liane Jurcic.
In just one day, the club raised $160, and that total keeps rising.
The club asked that all students and staff bring in one dollar for the cause. Some students brought in $20, while one student brought in $50.
“They are really being generous. Everybody is being just super, super helpful. We’re just so happy to get this going,” Jurcic said.
The club is gearing up for a bake sale in a couple of weeks, and it also plans to sell bracelets.
Jurcic said the 25 students in the club are working so hard to make a difference in Australia.
Cienna, a club member, said she knows someone who is actually fighting the fires in Australia. She noted he had to leave his family during Christmas to help the cause.
Mikah, another student in the club, piped up and said: “My neighbour, her bestest friend, they all moved to
Australia to fight the fires, even their kids and their dad and their mom.”
Another girl said: “Usually in the summer, I usually, I always have lemonade sales and everything. So I’ll probably do a bunch of those and I can give the money that I get. Well, half of the money for the Green Club and half of the money for my savings.”
Jurcic said the kids in the club are so focused, giving up their lunch hour every Thursday to help out.
“I’m so proud of them. It just amazes me, actually.”
One student, Morgan, said she’s learning a lot about recycling and nature. “I love it so much because I love nature.”
Nova said she really likes helping the environment, which is what the club is all about.
“I never used to know what things go in certain bins (for recycling). Now I’m learning so much about recycling and garbage.”
Cienna said this project gives her a chance to know what the world is about and how to raise money for other people.
Mikah interjected and said Mrs. Jurcic is the best teacher in the world. This prompted some snickering from the other students, which then prompted Mikah to retort, “she is!”
Morgan expressed her sadness that the koalas are so hot, thirsty and are getting burned.
Jurcic said it was reported that a lot of complete species will be lost.
One girl said the koalas can’t run far because they are surrounded by water.
“If they start running they’ll just end up by water and they can’t swim.”
Another girl told the story about one koala that was so confused it ran out of the fire then ran back in. She noted that a woman got out of her car and took her shirt off to wrap the koala in, but the poor thing was so badly burned it later died.
Mikah said if she lived in Australia and had a big truck, she would collect as many animals as she could and drive away from the fire.
“Me too,” one of her peers stated.