Education for Sustainability

The Education for Sustainability program came to an exciting climax today when four schools gathered at Chisholm Catholic Primary School to present their sustainability projects and listen to Daniel and William’s quest to save the orangutan.

Mr Bran Lazendic, Principal of Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre, has used Tears In The Jungle as a key Project Based Learning (PBL) tool across several schools and brought them together today to share their findings.

Education for Sustainability

At the beginning of the year Bran had four schools and eight classes very excited about this new Education for Sustainability project, now there are 34 classes with 855 students doing this project this year.  When addressing the students today, Bran said, “We believe we have reached about 5,000 people when we all go home and speak to at least one other person about the plight of the orangutan … the best thing about this project has been working as a team, researching about orangutans, trying our best and adopting baby orangutans Happi and Pippa“.

He went on to talk about how important it was to find your passion in life, he says, “Life is so much richer when you find your passion.  Dan and Will have shown the students there is so much power in your choices and you can act on it.  This project has engaged our students in the real world.  I can see they have gained confidence and pride in what they have done today which will carry with them for later on in life“.

The Education for Sustainability project was adopted by students at Chisholm Catholic Primary School where, after months of research, showcased their inventive projects and celebrated the  students achievements regarding their first, ‘Tears In The Jungle’ Project as a PBL module.

Education for Sustainability

Daniel and William Clarke

Daniel said, “Normally, schools we present to have done their homework around orangutans and the impact of palm oil on their habitat, but today is a whole different level.  All the students knew so much about orangutans, deforestation and palm oil and more on Indonesia itself that both Will and I were really blown away.”

One indicator of how well informed the students have become with their research showed in the types of questions the students were asking;


  1. If there was a cure for cerebral palsy would you go for it?  Daniel: “Cerebral Palsy has made me who I am and I am very happy with who I am so I wouldn’t change anything.
  2. Have you ever thought it was impossible to save them?  William: “Never. We will save them“.
  3. What did the orangutans hair feel like?  Daniel: “Greasy and oily as it keeps the bugs and parasites off them
  4. Have you adopted orangutans? William: “Yes, we have adopted many orangutans and, only last week, we were on the Kyle and Jackie’O show (KIIS106.5) as we adopted an Orangutan for Kyle Sandilands for his birthday?”  You can listen to the interview here.
  5. How many orangutans did you see?  Will:  “When we went to Camp Leakey it was a National Park so there were many orangutans in the jungle but the majority we saw were at the feeding platforms
  6. How did you feel knowing they were going to be extinct?  Will:  “We knew if nothing happened they WOULD become extinct so we had to take action.
  7. What is your favourite part of the journey?  Will: “My favourite part was when I was sitting with Siswi on the wharf in our first book”. Dan: “…being in the Care centre holding the baby orangutan.
  8. How will you feel when you save them?  Will: “Absolutely ecstatic, but its a shared effort that will only come about with all your help as well.  We are only two people but still need everyone’s help.”
  9. What emotions did you feel meeting Siswi?  Dan: “She was very curious about my wheelchair as orangutans had never seen a wheelchair before and they wanted to see how a wheelchair works, they were very, very curious
  10. Would there still be people looking after them if we didn’t adopt an orangutan?  Will: “Yes there would still be carers but, money from adoption helps to care and rehabilitate them back into the wild so they can live their life out as wild orangutans
  11. Why did you use QR codes in your second book? Will: “We wanted the book to be more interactive so everyone could see and listen to the orangutans life in the jungle.  We knew that not everyone would be able to make the journey into the jungle so it was a great way to share the jungle with everyone“.
  12. What changes have been made since your first trip?  Dan: “Large enclosures at Ketapang Care Centre that could now house orangutans that cannot be released into the wild”  (One orangutan was vision impaired so he could never be released).  Will also spoke about the man-made island at Ketapang which is where they live before they are released into the wild.
  13. Why do they cut the palm trees down?  Dan:  “Because Indonesia is a developing county and they don’t have the equipment available to reach the heights the palm trees can grow to in order to get the palm kernels as the tree gets older.
  14. What is your most favourite part of the WHOLE of your journey?  Dan: “Visiting schools and meeting all the students and seeing how passionate everyone is to save the orangutan“.
  15. Why are orangutans orange? Will: “Orangutans are orange for camouflage because when the sun sets and bounces off the river the whole of the jungle glows a yellow/orange glow and the orangutans become almost invisible

One teacher present said, “The way you have done the QR codes in your second book (“Fight for Survival”) makes it so engaging for the students and makes her teaching easier when they are that excited about a project.”

Chisholm Catholic Primary School

Education for SustainabilityChisholm Catholic Primary School hosted today’s successful event with three other schools attending as well as visiting teachers and educators.  In their lead up to this Education for Sustainability event the school held a cake stall and raised $1,000.  Assistant Principal, Andrew Emanuel, said the students passion is so contagious and reaffirmed Bran’s message of finding and sharing your passion.

Mr Emanuel went on to introduce a student, Jack, who wanted to let everybody know that after working on this project he went home to let his mum and dad know about the project and the next day he came back with a certificate from adopting his own orangutan from his family.  Everyone applauded.

In all of their efforts the school has raised $1300 so far.

Students Projects – Education for Sustainability

The Students created many different projects with one project presenting a movie called, ‘Our Learning Experience’, showing week by week a different theme relating to Tears In the Jungle.  They started by writing down ideas on how to help the orangutan, researched information about Indonesia, had discussions on Camp Leakey and the Little Sekonyer River, sought to understand the cultural difference between Australia and Indonesia with the summary being the students using persuasive text and reading the outcome to their class.

One class investigated their lunch boxes to see what contained palm oil.  This employed critical thinking skills and allowed the students to realise how their actions can help create change.  They discussed and clarified ideas, informed and persuaded others to help, presented group ideas to their class, summarised the message of the problems facing the orangutan to the school and wider community.   Students found it really fun and engaging.  The teacher said that, “Both books say to everyone that you CAN make a difference“.

One student said, “We are saving nature, nature’s life“.

Glossodia Public School

Education for Sustainability

Glossodia Public School presented lots of facts about orangutans.  Their year 3/4 class was excited with the prospect of educating other students as well as parents.  Their project was called, ‘A Species in Crisis’ and was focused at wanting to make a difference.  The class have also written a Charter for the next 4 years which encompasses not buying Twisties, Oreos or Doritos as they all contain palm oil.  They also mentioned their favourite part of doing this project was learning about the orangutan and Borneo.

Bonnyrigg High School

Bonnyrigg High School’s Gifted and Talented (GAT) Program decided on the specific program this year of Saving the Orangutan.  The students sought to bring technology into the mix so everyone around the world will know how they can also save the orangutan.  The GATs team meet every Tuesday and the different groups within the team have each chosen a different initiative such as making an interactive board game, creating a software application and creating an interactive poster using QR codes to go on telegraph poles and poles in schools to get the message out to the wider community.  Another group is making a website and using market research to get the message outside of the school community and their website is what the QR codes link to on the poster.  Their biggest obstacle was bringing their Education for Sustainability Project to life.

The students from Bonnyrigg were asked, “What is it you like about being a part of this program?”  One student answered, “We were inspired by Bran Lazendic visiting the school and we love coming to school an hour earlier and learning all about the orangutan“.

Oxley Park Public School

Education for Sustainability

Oxley Park Public School have raised $1000 by holding a fund raising day called ‘Back to Front Mufty Day’.  All of the students would wear their normal day clothes but back to front.  The students took the opportunity to learn all about sustainability, the orangutan and its habitat.  One teacher commented how engaged the students were and that you could see the pride and joy in students faces when knew they were helping to save the orangutan.

A mother of a student wrote a letter to the school thanking them for their Sustainability in Education program as she had never seen her son so engaged in the school and the project. She said in her letter how he loved coming to school and that the project gave him so much joy that he has never shown before.  The students have been learning about how to make a difference and researched about Indonesia and Borneo such as the population of Indonesia, Komodo Dragons, traditional Kampongs, habitat for Orangutan, rates of orangutan declining and their class had an information and a Report Writing Wall based upon the orangutan and their lifestyle.

At the end of their presentation they showed a beautiful baby orangutan photo and one of the students said, “Don’t you just want to save all of them?“.  They made dioramas, created water colour and pastel artwork.  Years 5/6, with the help of their Art Teacher learned coil weaving and made a wall hanging with an overall theme of, “We are all different coming together as one“.   Their school canteen has also become aware of products containing palm oil.

Years 3/4 also used their persuasive writing skills to write letters to their principal so they could raise awareness and money.  They ended up raising $1000 and adopted 4 orangutans for 4 years.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful day.  Your passion was inspiring and a huge congratulations to the amount of work you have done during this project.  Your achievements will really help save the orangutan – thank you.

Dan and Will

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