Students get the chance to say hello to koalas

EIGHTY-four year two students, a walk along the waterfront and 15 Hello Koalas.

It's not the first line of a joke, but it does sound like a fun excursion for any primary school child in Port Macquarie.

And it's what students from St Agnes Primary School did yesterday when they got to know the Hello Koala sculptures a little better.

It was part of an education program for the school as they are currently focussing on wet and dry environments in HSIE subjects and teacher Kara de Maria felt it would be a good practical excursion for the students.

"It's great to see that they understand what the sculptures are all about," she said.

"The kids have been talking about the excursion for about five weeks."

Forestry Corporation of NSW provided the students with 100 boxes of colouring pencils and a supply of activity sheets on Forest the koala which they saw along the trail at the Glasshouse.

Hello Koala project manager Linda Hall said the exercise had been well received by the students.

"They all know their names so I think we've successfully brainwashed them!" she said. "They started at Westport Park because we thought it would be a bit too busy to have so many schoolchildren at Settlement City and they walked all the way to the Maritime Museum seeing 15 koalas in total."

She said the excursion also allowed the students to gain a better understanding of what the koalas represented and their meaning.

"Not only does it give them a better awareness of the koala, but they all have a healthy respect for art now too," she said.

Artist Pauline Roods also spoke to the children about her koala designs, including Forest and Ocean.

There was, however, little doubt who the two favourite koala's were when the Port News completed a quick snap poll of the students - Starry Soul and Scoop.

And why did the students enjoy the koalas?

"I think they're really cool because we can paint them different colours," student Will Cannavo said.

paul.jobber@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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