Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail was excited to welcome its latest creation with the arrival of Happy Haven at North Haven Public School during one of the last days of school for 2020.
Students were on hand to cheer Happy Haven on as the sculpture was delivered to principal Kate Brace and teacher Lauren Manning and placed in their safe hands.
Happy Haven was sponsored by Hello Koalas as a prize for schools participating in the innovative educational project Koala Smart, which was developed in 2019 by Tacking Point Lions Club, in collaboration with Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, NSW Koala Recovery Program and Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail.
Since then, the Koala Smart project has worked with education writers to create classroom-ready content which is now available at no cost to primary and secondary schools who register on the Koala Smart website www.koalasmart.org.au.
Koala Smart Chair, and Lions VP, Janice McGilchrist said the program is conveniently packaged for High School and Primary Teachers to download and use in whatever way suits their students' needs.
"It is designed to reduce their workload as we've gathered all the resources needed and put them in one place," she said.
"We're looking for ideas and concepts which can be further developed with the help of experts and applied in the real world. One such example from the 2019 pilot program is the Koala000 app which is being further developed with assistance from Charles Sturt University for local trial in early 2021."
Hello Koalas is proud to have been one of the founders of this NSW based koala conservation educational project and was delighted to work with local artist Kim Staples, teachers Lauren Manning and Sarah Dennis and students from North Haven Public School to usher Happy Haven into the world.
"We wanted to encourage schools to be a part of the 2019 pilot program for Koala Smart and decided that sponsoring a sculpture for both the primary and secondary schools in the Koala Smart competitive process was a good way to do that," Hello Koalas Project Director Margret Meagher said.
The secondary school prize was awarded to Kempsey Adventist School and their sculpture Kas Koala will be taking up residence at Kempsey Train Station.
For the past few months, while Wauchope Train Station has been renovated, one of Wauchope's resident Hello Koalas sculptures Carramar visited Kempsey Train Station and was so well received that now Kempsey Train Station will have its own home grown Hello Koalas sculpture to entertain and engage with passengers.
Kas Koala will take up residence at Kempsey Train Station in early January 2021.
Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail has been developing a strong community engagement program with NSW Trains and Forestry NSW over the past two year.
Posters featuring Hello Koalas sculptures are displayed in a number of train stations in NSW to entice people to "Visit NSW Forests".
Another Hello Koalas sculpture Guula, painted by Aboriginal artists from Wauchope TAFE, is now ambassador for Forestry's new educational and tourism precinct in Cowarra State Forest, just announced this week.
The as yet unnamed precinct is a collaboration encompassing the Koala Hospital and its new wild koala breeding and research program, Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council, Wild Nets (Ecoline), Newcastle University and Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail which is creating a Big Koala for the precinct, which will open mid year.