Students on big eco mission

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
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Teacher Tiana Leak and Principal Kelvin Shem with John Morris, 9, and the rest of Roebuck Primary's Year 4 Greenshank Two class.
Camera IconTeacher Tiana Leak and Principal Kelvin Shem with John Morris, 9, and the rest of Roebuck Primary's Year 4 Greenshank Two class. Credit: Picture: Jakeb Waddell

A passionate Year 4 class of students at Roebuck Primary School are turning theory into practice as they do their part for the environment.

The “Greenshank Two” class were learning about the threat of palm oil to orangutans as part of an endangered species unit when one student, John Morris, discovered that a forum of ministers would vote on the mandatory labelling of palm oil on April 28.

There is no current requirement for palm oil to be listed as an ingredient, despite being found in up to 50 per cent of supermarket products.

His home research led him to the Zoos Victoria website, where WA users can fill out a form to urge their ministers to vote “yes” to the proposed labelling laws.

He reported this to his classmates and they have been taking action ever since.

After each student filled out the form, they designed posters and wrote persuasive letters to bring the topic to people’s attention and encourage them to also fill out the form.

Nine-year-old John said he had researched the topic so heavily because he felt upset when he learnt how palm oil was harming orangutans.

“I just felt really sad because there’s nothing they can do to help themselves,” he said. “That’s why we are trying to make people talk to the ministers before April 28.”

Teacher Tiana Leak said she was proud of her students, who had taken action on their own when she taught them forests the size of football fields were being destroyed to plant the trees palm oil was derived from.

“The class is so passionate about this and they have done so much research, even outside of school,” she said.

“A big part of teaching is to teach students that what they learn in a classroom can be used within the real world. I’m very proud of each of them.”

Principal Kelvin Shem described the students’ hard work as a fantastic initiative.

The students will be writing to Zoos Victoria to let it know what they have been doing to raise awareness.

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