Kindergarten students and teachers take direct action to support Toolangi Forest through art auction

February 16 / 175

Detail from a collage by children from the ELC (not for sale in the auction).
Detail from a collage by children from the ELC (not for sale in the auction).

An exploration and learning experience on the subject of Victoria’s Toolangi Forest has led to young learners at the Abbotsford Early Learning Centre being so concerned and inspired they decided to take direct action.

Guided by the children's desire to have a voice in environmental matters and help the forest – which is home to Victoria’s faunal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum - teachers of the Centre have invited twenty artists to create and donate work that will be exhibited and auctioned at a launch event on Friday, February 26 from 6-7pm (auction from 6-6.30pm) on the Ground floor of the Abbotsford Convent.

The Abbottsford Early Learning Centre is a research and demonstration facility of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. The Early Learning Centre is situated alongside the Abbottsford Convent, and Collingwood Children’s Farm next to the Yarra River and offers students in three and four year old kindergarten programs rich opportunities for learning about nature and the environment.

Teachers Natalie Jones and Suzana Klarin explain that in 2015 the children and teachers engaged in a year-long in-depth project that explored the ecology of Victoria's Toolangi Forest. 

“The children learnt about the significance of old-growth Mountain Ash trees as the homes for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, and learnt that these very old trees are being logged at an unprecedented rate for paper manufacture,” Ms Jones says.

“The children told us they wanted their community to help them protect the forest, so teachers and children decided to ask local artists to create artistic responses which would communicate care and concern for the natural environment, and be made available to raise funds to support the protection of Toolangi Forest.”

Contributing Artists include: Dominic Belvedere, Cone 11, Sal Cooper, Ben De Quadros Wander, Ann Ferguson, Hamish Galloway, Interact Arts, Karena Goldfinch, Rona Green, Si Jing Liu, Nick Mourtzakis, Avis Murray, Bridget Nicholson, Sharon Plummer, Jeminah Ally Reidy, Michelle Stewart, Philip Stokes Glass & Thornton Walker.

Proceeds from auction of the artworks in the ‘Coee! Toolangi Forest Calling' exhibition will support Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum. The exhibition runs 22 February to 21 March.

Thumbnail: Curl, by Rona Green (for auction). 

Story by Katherine Smith.


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