SOUTH BERWICK, Maine Compassionate students at Central School have been working together to raise money to help animals on another continent.
Second-grader Olivia Destin explained, “Theres a huge fire in Australia where the koalas live in eucalyptus trees, and the trees keep getting burned by the fires.”
Teacher June Arbelo asked her students to explain what was happening to the koalas even before the fires. One student said, “People were hunting koalas for their fur and they were cutting their trees down.” Mac Darling jumped in with, “The heating of the Earth climate change is affecting their habitat.”
Arbelo said, “due to deforestation, the koalas were threatened even before the fire but a third of their population has died in the fire.” Another student said they keep getting hit by cars. The students want to help save the koalas.
Severin Aucoin brought in money from the tooth fairy as he shows off his three missing teeth. With a solemn glance, he said, “They are going extinct. They are like the dinosaurs; they got hit by a large asteroid; trust me.” Mac Darling adds, “If they go extinct, they are never going to come back.”
The kids of Central School’s koala saving team has created posters and placed them throughout the school to raise awareness and hope to inspire people to donate to the cause. They have been collecting money and will be continuing that until Feb. 7. On Friday morning, Arbelos class circled around their teacher on a rug counting the money for the week. Change and bills hit the multicolored rug.
“We have $290.63, just our class,” said Ella St. Cyr. “And the whole school has collected around $700 so far.”
Mac brought in some of his Christmas money and he also brought in some money he said a leprechaun left him. Some of the third-graders have been doing chores like cleaning their rooms, vacuuming and looking for money in their couches. Jackson Lambert said, “When I told my mom that we were collecting money, she said, When I go to work, Ill ask my boss if we can donate money to help the koalas,’ and we already got $25 for that.”
“We donate money for food and water for the koalas in the hospitals and for the ambulances that help the koalas,” Ella said. “Theres a hospital just for koalas.”
Some students said the money will help to plant more eucalyptus trees.
Arbelo said the money the students collect will be given to a nonprofit organization to be put to good use.