Local students create story to inspire care for nature

Local students create story to inspire care for nature

20 Dec 23


Motivated by their own love of the environment, Pippa, Eli, Tyson and Ethan wanted to inspire other young people to care about the natural world as much as they do.

The four Yahl Primary School students, with some help from their teacher Mel Holtz, chose storytelling as their medium and worked together to author and illustrate ‘Who will help?, as part of a project through the Limestone Coast Landscape Board’s Young Environmental Leaders Program.

Tyson, Ethan, Pippa and Eli with their published book, Who Will Help?

Who will help? is a story about a magpie, named Pippa, and a copperhead snake, named Eli, tasked with the search and rescue of two young swamp wallabies who go missing in The Valley Lakes.

The creation process was a truly collaborative effort by the young Yahl Primary leaders, but it wasn’t without challenge.

“It was a team effort,” Pippa said.

“It was really fun and we got along. We only had one real argument. The challenge I guess was ‘creative differences’…”

The process

The student group did everything from creating characters and developing the story, to painting and illustrating every page.

“We thought instead of coming up with random character names, we’d use our own names,” Eli said.

“Ms Holtz’ favourite animal is the magpie so we included that, and we researched what other native animals live around the area as well.”

“We did the ink wash backgrounds together for each of the pages, decided where the images would go, then drew and created the pictures.”

Who will help? is a story about a magpie and a copperhead snake tasked with the search and rescue of two young swamp wallabies.

Consulting with local Boandik Elder Uncle Ken Jones and author Jo Watson, the students said they wanted to create a story that was local with places people would recognise, but would resonate with anyone no matter where they were from.

“Uncle Ken helped us with Boandik language, so we could include Boandik words in the story,” Pippa said.

“At the back there’s a list of the words and the English translation. This made the book relevant to local people, but even if you’re from somewhere else, you can enjoy the story and learn about local culture and places.”

“The book is aimed at younger kids, and really anyone, to inspire people stop littering, and to learn how actually care about the environment and animals.”

Support through PINE Community Grants

Yahl Primary teacher Mel Holtz oversaw the project and was committed to supporting the students work by making sure the book was finished in a quality way.

“Without the OneFortyOne grant, we would have just had to limit ourselves to photocopied versions,” Mel said.

“I knew if we wanted the project to be successful and the students to feel like they’ve made something with a lasting impact, it needed to be good quality.”

“We brainstormed organisations within the community that might support the project, and came across the OneFortyOne grants program.”

The book and beyond

The limited copies have been distributed to those who worked with the group to bring the story to life. A copy is also available at to loan from the Mount Gambier Public Library.

“It feels really rewarding that the book is done, and we can share it with everyone,” Pippa said.

“Creating the book and being a part of YELP was a great experience, took lots of effort, but it was worth it to achieve our goals.”

“Hopefully it reaches lots of kids. If it gets a lot of interest we’ll do a softcover version.”

“We hope everyone enjoys the story and that it inspires them to look after nature.”

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We are strongly tied to where we live and work, and want to play our part in supporting vibrant communities and protecting our environment.


OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.