Robot to spark fight for the rhino

Wild sculpture

A classroom project that aimed a focus at the plight of the rhino across the world has given Gum Flat kids a Sydney shopping centre sculpture.

The primary school kids have now packed off their artistic rhino to the wilds of Sydney as their effort from a classroom environment of the tiny school outside Inverell.

According to teacher Heather Angel, Gum Flat Primary with its 33 students from years K-6 were touched and alarmed by the plight of rhinos across the world and accordingly decided to participate in Taronga Zoo’s “wild rhinos” project.

“The project was a lot of fun but also an amazing educational opportunity. We received an exciting and interesting unit of work to complete and participated in a live video conference with Taronga Zoo’s animal keeper and other staff,” Ms Angel said.

“We purchased a life-sized rhino statue to decorate, which formed the basis of a school-wide design competition and produced a range of creative concepts. Eventually we chose our robot theme thinking that it would be a terrible shame if the only rhinos left for us to see would be technological recreations – not unlike the dinosaurs.”

“The money raised by our student council went to the zoo program to help raise awareness, contribute to the breeding program and help the zoo care for its existing population.

“The school called in the dynamic team of parent Nick Lissarague and Uncle Daniel Watkins to work with the children to make a robot with flashing lights and crazy circuitry.

“The children are very proud of “Sir Sparx-a-lot” and were very happy to be able to participate as the only representative school of Northern NSW.”

According to the department, Gum Flat was one of 50 schools who took part in the project. 

Gum Flat Public’s creation named Robot Rhinos (no way as good as the real thing!) has taken pride of place at Centro Bankstown.

It will join full-size adult rhino sculptures painted by professional artists, in a “Rhino Trail”.

The 125 wildly-colourful rhinos and calves will take their places in parks, shopping centres and public spaces around Sydney and in regional areas across the state, before being returned to their home schools for permanent display.

The professional artists’ statues will go up for auction at a corporate function in May.

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