“What can we do?” was the question asked by Grade 5 and 6 students at Ormstown Elementary School after they were updated on the growing wildfires burning in Australia. Students listened as the news article described how an appeal had been made for sewers and crafters to create pouches for orphaned and injured wildlife. “We can do that!” one student exclaimed and the rest of the class nodded in agreement.
After researching the type of patterns needed, students set to work cutting out various sizes from a selection of materials provided by the school or brought in from home.
Baby marsupials such as kangaroos, gliders, wallabies, koalas, wombats and bandicoots are referred to as joeys. Sewn pouches are one way to imitate a mother’s pouch and keep these animals warm and secure while they heal. Some animals may require as many as 30 pouches a day as they are changed often. Koalas sometimes need a little extra room for the stuffed teddy bears that keep them company.
The pouches must be made of natural fibres and have French seams or be sewn with overlock machines so the inside seams are secure and do not catch animal claws. Once completed, the pouches will be mailed to a contact outside of Melbourne to be delivered to a rescue centre there. Wildcare Australia in southeast Queensland is also accepting pouches. Karen Scott, the president of that centre, had one last request to students: that they include letters and drawings for the rescue workers, as it “Really brightens up our day!”
Students at Ormstown Elementary’s Learning Centre are also doing their part to help rescued Australian animals. They are raising money to send to WIRES Australia (Wildlife Information Rescue Education Service), the biggest wildlife rescue organization in Australia. In January and February they are holding ice cream sundae sales at school and on Carnival day a dollar donation to the cause will allow students extra time on the bouncy castle.