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Buy a cupcake, help a penguin

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Maple Creek
PHOTO SARAH VERMETTE From left, Sidney Street Grade 1 students Lilly Peebles, John Francis-Schimpf, Aubree Hotomani, Taylin Huck, Kenzie Duffee, Braxton Vossler, Cord Moorhead and Lawerence Suba gather around the prep table while making cupcakes to sell for their new adopted Little Blue penguin.

Sarah Vermette



The Grade 1 class at Sidney Street School in Maple Creek had a cupcake sale to raise money for a worthy cause. The class reviewed charity options and decided — by way of a vote — to use the money to adopt a Little Blue penguin from the Phillip Island Penguin Conservatory in Australia.

Teacher Jill Sulz says the class chose to adopt the Little Blue penguin because they care about protecting the natural environment where the penguins live.

“The Grade 1s excitedly made and decorated cupcakes,” she said. “Our principal, Mr. Benallack, stopped in to buy our first cupcake at our sale.”

There are 17 kinds of penguins, and the Little Blue penguin is the smallest at about 33 cm tall and 1 kg in weight. Little Blue penguins breed in colonies along the southern coastlines of Australia and New Zealand, with Phillip Island in Victoria home to an estimated 32,000 breeding adults.

Little Blue penguins spend 80 per cent of their lives at sea swimming and foraging for food, and return to their nesting burrows on Phillip Island to breed, raise chicks, moult and to take a break after days or weeks spent at sea.

Human impacts such as introduced predators, over exploitation of marine ecosystems, oil spills, marine pollution and climate change can threaten little penguins and their ecosystems.

The Grade 1 class also likes that the conservatory helps rehabilitate penguins that have been injured. The Wildlife Clinic is purposely built to care for Phillip Island’s sick and injured native wildlife, and is Victoria’s only specialized seabird rehabilitation centre. Starvation, road trauma, pet or feral animal attacks, oil spills and boat trauma are common causes of admittance to the clinic.

In 2014-15, the Wildlife Clinic cared for 134 little penguins with malnourishment, abrasions, cuts, broken and damaged limbs being the primary cause for care. A total of 334 animals other than penguins were treated, which includes animals from 52 species and is more than double the long-term average of 170.

Wildlife rehabilitation rangers responded to 681 wildlife rescue calls and provided advice to the public and other wildlife carers.

Sulz says the class is anxiously awaiting their package from Australia to find out more about their Little Blue penguin.

To learn more about the chosen charity of Sidney Street School ‘s grade one class, visit: https://penguinfoundation.org.au/

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