Warrnambool West Primary School to raise money for Zoos Victoria

Warrnambool West Primary School has devised a novel way to raise money for the endangered eastern barred bandicoot.

Principal Phil Barnes and two teachers are growing their beards this year to raise money for the bandicoots and Zoos Victoria’s guardian dog trial.

Funds pledged for each centremetre of growth recorded will be donated to Zoos Victoria.

Werribee Open Range Zoo staff and bandicoot guardian dog Albus visited the school on Tuesday for the first measure in. Mr Barnes recorded 10 centremetres, while teacher Steve Griffin recorded 11cms of growth.

Mr Barnes hopes students will realise their role in helping to save the marsupial in future years. “This is about giving back to the wider community and even the world in a way because this animal is significant,” he said.

Last year the school raised more than $855 for the project through the collection of five cent pieces and hope to beat the target this year through pledges and donations. 

He said the Warrnambool community could drop their five cent piece donations to the school reception area and beard pledges were also welcome. 

Growing: Warrnambool West Primary School'a Alenna Wytkamp, guardian dog project co-ordinator Dave Williams with Albus, principal Phil Barnes and Joseph Douglas are helping to save the eastern barred bandicoot. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Growing: Warrnambool West Primary School'a Alenna Wytkamp, guardian dog project co-ordinator Dave Williams with Albus, principal Phil Barnes and Joseph Douglas are helping to save the eastern barred bandicoot. Picture: Morgan Hancock

“We are very proud of students’ fund-raising efforts and we wanted to find a fun way to help inspire them and to involve the broader community,” Mr Barnes said. 

Guardian dog project co-ordinator Dave Williams said fund-raising was crucial. “We are so excited about the Beards for Bandicoots fund-raising initiative that we had to come and see it for ourselves,” he said.