2023 Wildlife Storybook unveiled: Nature through the eyes of our youth

Last modified on 23 November 2023

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Willoughby City Council proudly launched the 13th annual Wildlife Storybook, a captivating compilation of inspiring stories, poetry, and artwork created by talented Year 5 students. The storybook, unveiled by Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor at Chatswood Library, shines a spotlight on the essential biodiversity role played by small bush creatures in the local ecosystem.

The launch event was attended by 170 proud students, parents, grandparents, carers, and teachers. Mayor Tanya Taylor expressed the uniqueness of this special project, empowering young primary school students to educate their peers about the diverse wildlife in their immediate natural environment.

"Willoughby City boasts 330 hectares of natural environment, home to hundreds of different species, including 150 birds, 30 reptiles, 26 mammals, and eight frogs. By teaching our children to observe, understand, and appreciate these areas and species, we are helping to protect important local habitats into the future," Mayor Taylor emphasised.

The Wildlife Storybook is the culmination of a Council-led program that involves Bushland Education Officers visiting each Willoughby primary school. Students collaborate with their teachers to research a particular animal, and selected stories and drawings are featured in the book.

This year an extraordinary 650 stories and artworks were collected from 11 Primary schools throughout Willoughby. That equates to 650 students in our community having a deeper understanding of our local environment.

“The project is a great way to inspire students to learn, and I would like to congratulate Council’s bushland team on their work.

“Throughout the book we follow the adventures of many animals including a frog that hitches a ride on a kid's bike to find a better pond, a Ring-tail possum searching for a new home and a mother Masked Lapwing brave enough to take on a lawn mower. I absolutely admire the creativity and understanding demonstrated by the students in these stories,” Cr Taylor expressed.

As a thank you, students were gifted toy bandicoots to remind them of their success in the project and inspire their continued creative and environmental pursuits.

Bandicoots move a large amount of soil each night and their digs improve soil health, increase soil moisture and decrease soil compaction. Across Australia and within our suburbs, our soils that were once rich and fertile are often compacted, repel water and are nutrient poor. Our ground mammals do essential major earthworks and bandicoot's along with the other species in this storybook play important roles in our environment.

“With more understanding and education, we can all try to improve habitats for our wildlife in Willoughby,” Cr Taylor said.

Mayor Taylor congratulated the students by presenting them with certificates, commemorative toy bandicoots, and copies of the book for their friends and family.

The Storybook is available to download on Council’s website https://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Environment/School-programs or for purchase from Chatswood Library or Council customer service for $10 and will be available to borrow from all school and local libraries. 

For media enquiries, please contact:

The Media Team, Willoughby City Council
E: media@willoughby.nsw.gov.au
P: 0459 915 293

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