For the fictional residents of Woodleighville's Morris Ward

Endangered Animals: The Story Behind the Fluff

– By Woodleighville resident, Nasmin Florett

In the term 1 holidays I borrowed the Planet Earth documentary from the library. When it got to the section of the endangered snow leopard, a strange feeling came over me, numbness, frozen.

I felt then and still feel now that extinction is an issue that needs to be further researched; I mean what do we really know about extinction and endangered animals?

Leadbeaters possum are suffering from lack of habitat, this is thanks to the Black Saturday bushfires back in 2009. These possums nest in the hollows of gum trees. The gum trees take up to 200 years to become hollow. 200!

We’ve all heard of the Tassie devils right? Well their endangered from a disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease or DFTD. It is a type of cancer that forms in clusters of cells that spreads via the devil biting each other’s heads while fighting for food. This has wiped out 80% of their population. They are however recovering in Healesville sanctuary where a lot are being breed. 

Ok, so I’ve got my topic. For my action, I want to go to my primary school and teach 4 separate lessons to the four senior classes. So not just stand there and talk but actually teach a proper lesson.

With these lessons, I’m planning to really get the message across to how important endangered animals are. But also to explain exactly what extinction is and how it happens.

To discover this information I’ve done a bit of internet researching and have already found out lots of info.

And I am currently in the process of posting a letter to Melbourne zoo.

The causes of extinction are big and hard to stop. Tree logging, habitat destruction, hunting, poaching the list goes on and on. Zoos Victoria are working hard to protect certain species from extinction. Like the orange bellied parrot. There’re only 36 left in the wild, most of these are juvenile.

There are many more animals out there suffering, but we can help. Using recycled paper products, this includes cardboard, regular paper, toilet paper and if you’re buying timber, insure it has the FSC symbol on it. (FSC stands for: The Forest Stewardship Council, which is an American organisation set up to protect forests around the world) another thing you might want to look into is adoption programs, where you donate money to a certain species you choose.

Log onto the Melbourne zoo website for general info on campaigns and more things you can do to help.

But please remember;

Extinction is forever.



The Role of Advertising in the Childhood Obesity Crisis

– By Woodleighville resident, Stephanie

I’m here to talk to you today about something that is a very important topic to me, and that is advertising and its effects on child obesity. A few days ago I was looking through Newser, a website that covers stories from a bombing incident in Bagdad, to how fast the sea level is rising. But the story that immediately caught my attention was ‘Disney dumps junk food ads’ an article on how Disney Channel is banning all junk food ads on their station. They are hoping that this will help to narrow down child obesity, and are encouraging others to do the same. “Companies in a position to help with solutions to childhood obesity should do just that,” Disney chairman Robert Iger states. And Disney’s plan puts it far ahead of competitors.  Now banning some junk food ads is a simple thing to do, so why is Disney channel the only channel who have accomplished this? It made me wonder why ordinary channels, are deliberately keeping these ads on; is it for money purposes, or for the reason that they just haven’t thought about advertising, and how it is contributing to child obesity.

Stopping all advertising of junk foods is very important, but for just one person to achieve this is quite un-realistic. So I plan to make my own survey and send it to kids, just younger than us to find out what they know about this important issue. And then these results off to a newspaper so everyone can see. Advertising specialists use many canny techniques to persuade or encourage their costumers to eat their product. Many fast food restaurants for example use bribes, in the form as toys, to persuade the consumers.

Child obesity is very common, and can be harmful to the child in many different ways. Low self-esteem, bullying and eating disorders are only some of the effects of child obesity. But there is also many medical disadvantages too, type 2 diabetes, being one of the most common. In fact child obesity is so common that twenty to twenty-five percent of children are considered overweight or obese and between 1985 and 1997 obesity in children doubled! But all though these are alarming results, childhood obesity can be narrowed down and everyone can help by simply encouraging TV channels to limit their fast food ads during children’s TV shows, or only eating the ‘sometimes’ food sometimes!


Psychology in Early Childhood Centers

– By Woodleighville resident, James Patterson

I’m here to talk to you today about something that I’ve been interested in for some time. It is the study of psychology in early childhood learning facilities. I went to a childcare centre in Bayside, the place was not very fancy but still it was one of the best childcare centres I have ever (seen) known. I thought for a long time about why it was so special. On one hand I thought it was the place and its fond memories but on the other hand I thought it was the toys. The more I thought I realised I loved the place so much was because of the carers. The carers where always there but they weren’t at the same time. Like for example if you are at a friend’s house and you know there are home but they only bother you when they have to. It was perfect as it let us as children discover and have fun in our own way but still if something went wrong the carers where there in an instant. The carers still ran activities but in designated time slots we were allowed to do what we wanted.

This topic is important because learning as a young child can pave their future. We learn as a child better and faster than at any point in our biological timeline. So it is extremely important that children learn the correct things as young children. In many third world countries young children don’t get proper education and therefore lack the necessary skills to achieve something great. In Victoria alone 24.3% children aged 3-5 don’t have access to proper education. This number may not seem high but if you put this in comparison it is  So if you take anything away from this today just remember this. Think how lucky we all are to have had proper education and then think about what it would be like living as one these children. If tell about these problems even if you only inspire one person that is enough to start something big.


Youth Homelessness in Melbourne: The Silent Epidemic

– By Woodleighville resident, Griffon

I’m here to talk to you about a growing problem in our country. It affects people between the ages of 12 and 18 every day. This problem is youth homelessness.

This is a story that I read not that long ago. It’s a true story about a girl named Rebecca and her life on the streets.

Rebecca was fourteen when she landed in the streets. Before this at the age of thirteen she and her younger sisters were physically abused by her mother’s partner. After a year of this she had enough and asked her mother to choose between keeping her and keeping her partner. Her mother choose her partner and Rebecca was thrown onto the street. At first she stayed with friends. Eventually she had to leave the suburbs for the city streets. She ended up sleeping in abandoned houses and buildings, with other young people who were like her, homeless. It was a really hard life. Almost immediately she got a drug addiction. Then she became depressed. So depressed in fact that she routinely cut herself to escape from her emotional pains. One day she cut herself so much that she fell unconscious with the intent of dying through blood loss. But it didn’t work because someone found her lying in an alleyway and called an ambulance. Then she reached the stage where she didn’t care if she lived or died. In the end to her it was a matter of “well if I get through the day then great, if I don’t doesn’t matter, no big deal.” Then she found help. She met a social workers named Dominic and that changed her life.

This is something Rebecca actually said about Dominic.

“Just to know that someone cares is the main thing I guess. Most of the people on the street don’t have anyone. We end up with no one when we come out here and you think that no one cares, no one worries about you and no one’s willing to listen to what goes on in your life… what problems you have.”  

Dominic was so touch by who Rebecca was and her story that he set up a foundation to help people in Rebecca’s position. And he called it “Rebecca’s Community” after her.

This is what Dominic said when he was asked about his name choice for his new organisation.

“We named the organisation Rebecca’s Community after Rebecca because throughout the time she was on the streets she would put her own needs on hold to be there for others no matter how bad her life was.”

This topic is really important because it affects people our age and younger on a daily basis. Did you know that in 2006 on census night there were 1,401 school students that were homeless in Victoria alone? And about 7,035 students were homeless in Australia. That’s people our age and a little older living on the streets.

I’m almost done here but there’s something I want you to remember and think about. And that is. What has happened to these young people to make them feel that they’re not safe at home? Why would they think that a life out there in the cold is better than the one that the used to have?

To learn more, visit


The Truth About Puppy Factories

– An article by Woodleighville resident, Pippa Smith

I’m here to talk to you about an important issue that often goes unnoticed. This is the issue of puppy factories. You can call them what you like; puppy factories, puppy mills, puppy farms. They have been overlooked without a second glance for years, and now is the time to change that.

In 2010, producer Liz Re from The Project did a story on puppy factories. She knew little about them, and was not prepared for what she found.

She was outraged at the state of the poor animals, and the conditions in which they were being kept in. She said:

“The conditions are repulsive. Dogs in tiny wire cages with no bedding, often standing in their own faeces and urine, kept in cold sheds with no natural light. The dogs are rarely, if ever, groomed. Mites, flea infestations, and matted fur are all commonplace. Wounds and injuries go unchecked and untreated.”

“Female dogs are treated as breeding machines. Forced to pump out litter after litter – often several in a year. Many spend their entire lives in the puppy factory cages and pens. They never get to run in the grass or feel the sun warming their fur.”

Activist Deb Tranter had footage of a puppy factory, that had approximately 200 dogs on the property. Most dogs needed urgent medical attention. The RSPCA seized 50 dogs, but 150 still remained, as it is not allowed take animals without the owner’s approval.

Even if the owner’s is prosecuted, fines are as little as $1195. Such a small deterrent, when you consider puppies are sold for a minimum of $200 each.

It was also commented that “Lax animal welfare laws make prosecution of puppy factory owners a difficult task. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act says animals must be provided with food, water, and shelter. But it did not specify what quality the food, water, and shelter need to be. This means that breeders can be keeping dogs and puppies in horrendous conditions and still be complying with animal welfare regulations.”

Not only do these dogs have many medical problems as a result of their living conditions, but so many psychological problems that are scarred in the animals’ memories.

As you can see, puppy factories are a real issue, causing much stress, and possibly life threatening injuries.

Did you know, most puppies bought from pet shops are from puppy factories? They may also be fed just once every two days. Some of them may never see fresh air, or daylight in their whole lives. If they make it to the pet shop, shop owners rely on love at first sight, not mentioning the horrific conditions of where it was born, or what living situations its mother is in.

Did you know, as long as owners of these factories have a permit, they are legally allowed to function? Due to these circumstances, about one hundred and sixty thousand dogs die each year. Thankfully, this situation is improving as people are become more aware.

This photo is an example of an overbred dog, forced to churn out litter after litter

This dog also has an eye infection, quite common in puppy factories because of the inhumane conditions.

This dog is scared of humans, and you will also see the poor condition of its coat.

In these photos, you will see that the living conditions are horrible, where they spend their lives in cages, and sometimes can’t even stand up.

Now, you’ve heard of all the disgusting stories, and seen the evidence, but now you want to know how to stop them. First of all, buying dogs from a registered well-known breeder, or animal welfare organizations like the RSPCA is the way to go, never buy them from a pet shop, or somewhere when you just ‘meet up’ with the owner to collect the puppy. Secondly, spreading the word about this issue is vital. Most people have little or no idea about this, so helping people pick the right animal is essential!

I hope you take into account the seriousness of this issue, and take action. Thank you for listening.

– Pippa Smith

The Annual Morris Bugle 2012

The Annual Morris Bugle 2012

Choose Animal Safe Products- A Message from Octavia Valcore