Primary school teachers are using Australia’s biggest wildlife art competition as a creative and engaging way to educate students about Australia’s threatened animals and plants.
Entries to the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Wild at Art competition are now open following the enormous success of last year’s competition, which had teachers planning curriculum around the event.
Chloe Smith, a teacher at Maharishi School in Melbourne, says the competition provided the perfect springboard for her students to learn about Australian animals and plants – and the threats they face.
“We were able to spend the whole term researching, creating, making, and we were able to integrate all the curriculum, including science, literacy, humanities and, of course, the sustainability elements,” she said.
Wild at Art 2023 invites children aged 5-12 from across the country to create an original artwork depicting one of Australia’s many threatened native animals or plants, along with a short-written piece on their chosen species.
After receiving more than 5000 entries in 2022, ACF hopes this year’s competition will reach even more young artists.
“Australians love nature but not many people know that we have one of the worst extinction rates on the planet,” said ACF’s Nature Campaigner Peta Bulling.
“More than a third of all mammal extinctions in the world are Australian. And it’s not just mammals at risk. Australia has more than 2000 threatened plants, animals and ecosystems.
“This year we’ve added a new category for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We want to amplify all of our kids’ voices and help stop the extinction crisis,” she said.
Running up until Threatened Species Day on Thursday 7 September, Wild at Art is expected to generate awe-inspiring and heart-warming art pieces from our next generation of changemakers – see the 2022 winners.
“I chose the Western pygmy possum because it looks very cute,” said Aaleyah, one of the participants from last year. “We don’t want these little possums to go extinct,” she said.
“Not all big changes have to be done by adults. Children also have a voice too.”