‘H.E.L.P.’ Helping Endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.
Is the initiative of four Year 7 students from Beaconhills College in the outer south east of Melbourne. The girls were taking part in a student challenge project called “Macquarie Bank Future Problem Solving”. Elly, Mollie, Ellie and Emma, chose to highlight the plight of Leadbeater’s Possum through community awareness efforts and to fundraise to enable their school to purchase some Project Possum Nest Boxes.
The Committee of Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum applaud their commitment and outstanding contribution to raising the profile of our endangered state faunal emblem.
As of August 2009 they had undertaken the following promotions, media, letter writing, and fundraising days…
- A display on Open Day at Beaconhills College, where they spoke to families from the local community about the Leadbeater’s Possum and gave people to opportunity to make a donation to their project;
- They joined Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum as individual members;
- They attended the Post-bushfire Recovery Forum at Melbourne Zoo in May, and later received a letter from the Governor of Victoria congratulating them on their enthusiasm and commitment;
- Kate Arnott, reporter for ABC TV’s Stateline program interviewed the students for the Leadbeater’s Possum story which went to air on 22 May 2009 ;
- They have written to Zoos Victoria to ask: what Leadbeater’s Possum conservation programs they have; how they intend to assist the Leadbeater’s Possum; and how they, as students, can help;
- They have met with Paula Watson who is a Threatened Species Keeper at Healesville Sanctuary to better understand the work involved in saving threatened species. Paula has also invited them to assist her to help with the winter supplementary feeds;
- They have contacted their local media about the project objectives. Four stories have been published in the Ferntree Gully Belgrave Mail, Free Press Leader, Berwick News and The Ranges Trader Mail and on two websites;
- They have approached television programs Totally Wild and Talk to the Animals about their project, to raise more awareness. They have also contacted the Herald Sun and Sunday Age;
- They have addressed their whole school assembly about their project, and are planning more presentations;
- They have had 2,000 green and red rubber wrist bands manufactured with the HELP logo and the footprints of Leadbeater’s Possum embossed on them. These are currently selling at the Healesville Sanctuary shop for $2 and are available directly from the students;
- They have participated in a day of tree planting for Leadbeater’s Possum at the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve;
- They approached Healesville Sanctuary to ask them to feature the Leadbeater’s Possum in their school holiday program on the February 2009 bushfires. The Sanctuary agreed to do this during the July School Holiday Program, and 5000 brochures were printed featuring Leadbeater’s Possums;
- They wrote to Premier Brumby and Minister Pallas requesting that the government consider featuring Leadbeater’s Possum on the 2010 motor vehicle registration stickers.
- They planned to have some major events around Threatened Species Day on 7th September 2009 to help increase awareness and wristband sales.
- Organising to volunteer in a wildlife shelter to better understand the needs of our Victorian native wildlife.
- Wrote to Cadbury to pursue the addition of the Leadbeater’s Possum onto the chocolate range of Furry Friends.
- Preparing for the FPS International Conference in June 2010.
- Met with Parks Victoria to get an update on the status of Leadbeater’s Possum and what help is needed for 2010.
- Hosted a fundraising movie night at Rochford Winery.
- HELP article appeared in City of Casey Environmental newsletter – Spring 2009.
Commendation in the 2009 Premier’s Community Volunteering Awards – December 2009. HELP team meeting the Premier and senior Ministers.
June 2010 – Second Place. Future Problem Solving Competition – International Finals Success! Congratulations to the HELP team on their success at the international Future Problem Solving competition where their hard work helping Leadbeater’s Possum survive in the wild has earned them second place at the finals which were held in Wisconsin, USA.