Positive possum tale in the hills

Students Mollie Travica, Luke McConnell, Ellie Travica and Elly Robertson are off to the US to help save the leadbeater's possum

Students Mollie Travica, Luke McConnell, Ellie Travica and Elly Robertson are off to the US to help save the leadbeater's possum

FREE PRESS LEADER ARTICLE

A GROUP of hills teenagers are taking their fight to save the leadbeater’s possum global.

Kallista’s Elly Robertson, Berwick’s Emma Falkenberg, and Emerald’s Ellie and Mollie Travica, have formed a group called HELP – Helping the Endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.

The group has spent the past couple of months campaigning and raising money to support the declining leadbeater’s possum population’s fight for survival.

The possums were badly affected by February’s bushfires, which destroyed more than 75 per cent of their habitat in their colonies near Marysville and Healesville.

The Beaconhills College students entered their campaign into the international academic program ?Future Problem Solving.

At the national finals last month they were announced grand champions, beating teams from schools all over Australia.

They will now compete in the US next June against teams from across the globe and present their project on the world stage.

The group sold wristbands to raise enough money to buy 22 nesting boxes for the possums, valued at $150 each.

The girls also planted trees and shrubs to improve the possums’ habitat.

Group spokeswoman Elly Robertson said the recognition the group had received was “overwhelming”.

She said the group was motivated by only wanting to save the possums. “The species could never be replaced,” she said.

Because of the publicity the team had created through their campaign, the leadbeater’s possum is also being considered as the next “face” of car registration stickers in 2010, and a possible new mascot for Cadbury’s Furry Friends chocolates. Because of one of the girls can’t travel to the US, classmate Luke McConnell will join the team.


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