Minot Forest fourth graders work to save Australian animals

Jan 24, 2020

A group of fourth graders at Minot Forest Elementary School are leading a school-wide effort to help animals affected by the wildfires in Australia.

When the classmates heard about the suffering of animals in Australia, many of which have been pushed out of their habitats by the quickly spreading fires, they got to work researching the animals and how to help.
What began as a class project soon involved the whole school, as the students made posters, videos, and told schoolmates about the project during morning announcements.

Their efforts culminated with Australia Day on Jan. 24.

Students were encouraged to wear green and gold, the national colors of Australia, and bring in spare change, up to a dollar, if they were interested and able to do so.

The donations -- at least $271.40 -- will be given to Vets Beyond Borders, a charity researched and chosen by the students.

Kaylee said that Vets Beyond Borders “takes in animals and heals them.”

“Trees are animals’ homes,” Kaylee said. “If the animals get hurt, it’s not good, because they can go extinct.”

Amiya said that koalas are especially vulnerable, because their response to danger, like predators, is to climb higher into the trees. While that response helps them escape dingos, it makes them more at risk during a wildfire.

Coleman has been researching how people have been helping animals put in danger by the fires by bringing them to zoos and other organizations out of harm’s way where they can be treated. He also noted that the people of Australia are at risk.

Another student, Dorian, connected the fires to climate change, which is putting people and animals at risk across the globe.

“I want to save all the animals,” said Amiya.

“That’s why we donate, so the ones that are still alive can be taken care of,” said Kyla.

The students shared facts about the Australian animals they had been researching. 

“Koalas are really smart and they’re kind animals, but when they’re mad and upset, they can be really aggressive,” said Amiya.

“Kangaroos can jump higher than any other animal in Australia,” said Coleman.

Dorian said that koalas live in trees and eat eucalyptus leaves.

Kyla said that dingos are like a mix between a dog and a wolf.

“I just love that they took this idea and grew it on their own,” said Minot Forest Principal Joan Seamans. “It was really student driven.”