Parkes students launch book to raise awareness of endangered animals

What began with a Parkes Year 2 teacher telling her curious pupils about her holiday on the Great Barrier Reef, soon turned into the class launching their own book about endangered animals.

Parkes Public School teacher Zoe Ruckley sat down with her students to show them photos of her holiday, comparing hers to photos of what the Great Barrier Reef used to look like and how disappointed she was at the sight.

The class then started discussing global warming, coral bleaching, fossil fuels and human impacts on the environment and animals, which coincidentally linked well with one of the school’s special science programs.

“The students were shocked and wanted to know what we could do about it,” Ms Ruckley said.

“They were near in tears...we were talking about big issues for eight-year-olds, they’re very mature.

“The students were so interested in learning about the Black Rhinoceros and Southern Corroboree Frog that they each selected an animal from the endangered species list to research.”

But what the students did next really blew Ms Ruckley away.

“Within a week I had students bringing me information and photos of endangered animals they wanted to help,” she said.

She was so impressed with their efforts and quality of work, she and her students compiled the information, photos and illustrations into a 90-page book called Precious Wildlife through an online photo store.

“My Early Action for Success Instructional Leader Tracey Lickess told me ‘you’ve got  to share your information’...[and] originally we were going to do posters to hang up around the school and talk about it at assembly,” Ms Ruckley said.

“It looks like a book, the kids are very excited to have a book out there...so this is an amazing effort on their part.”

The school hosted a special launch of the book at Parkes Public School library on August 24, where 127 people attended, including the 2R class, parents, Parkes Public teachers and the mayor, Ken Keith.

Students also kindly donated a copy of Precious Wildlife to the library.

“We had six copies on display at the launch and we received 15 orders, it’s more now since the launch,” Ms Ruckley said.

She said a highlight of the evening for many students was trying on the mayoral chains Cr Keith kindly brought along with him.

“It was very funny, when the mayor arrived – and we knew he was coming – I walked over to greet him, one my the students said to me ‘oh my gosh it’s the mayor’,” she laughed.