Kids turn feral for a good cause

Wily school children have joined a program to learn about the impact of foxes on our environment.

Hawkesbury Independent School’s year 5 and 6 pupils have become the latest school group to turn feral for a good cause.

Before breaking up last year, the pupils put their creative writing skills to the test as part of the Envirostories City Livin’ Ferals initiative supported by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

Project co-ordinator Nicole Schembri said the City Livin’ Ferals initiative involved schools from the Greater Sydney area learning about feral animals impacting on native wildlife, agricultural production, urban areas and other sensitive landscapes.

“Through this program the kids from Hawkesbury Independent School have produced The Red Fox, a story book complete with original illustrations that talks about the impact of foxes on the environment and economy,” she said.

She said Greater Sydney Local Land Services ran a workshop with the pupils to develop the book which was influenced by both Aboriginal culture and biosecurity themes. These themes played a significant role in the unique illustrations featured in this book.

“The book was officially launched at the school, with the children delighted to see the end result,” she said.

Ms Schembri said many people thought problems caused by feral animals only affected rural and remote communities.

“In fact, feral animals are far more widespread and also have a devastating impact on our urban areas and the surrounding regions. Local Land Services often received reports of foxes attacking backyard hens, pets and even stealing shoes,” she said.

Hawkesbury Independent School principal Patricia Fraser said the project was an amazing opportunity for the students and teachers alike.

“We are very grateful to DPI and Greater Sydney Local Land Services for the chance to take part in this, it’s been a great learning experience,” she said.

Biosecurity officer Joshua Topham said Greater Sydney Local Land Services regularly worked with landholders to reduce the impact of pest animals in the Hawkesbury area.

“It’s great to see this sort of initiative from the next generation of landholders,” he said. “To date we’ve had six schools sign up with the feedback from teachers and students overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

SOURCE: Sydney Hills & Hawkesbury Living – Published 19 March 2019
PHOTOS: Hawkesbury Independent School – Published 2 December 2018