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Kids News launches Bushfire Poetry Competition

Kamahl Cogdon, December 17, 2020 3:00PM Kids News

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A firefighter battles flames near the town of Old Bar on the NSW Mid North Coast. Picture: AAP media_cameraA firefighter battles flames near the town of Old Bar on the NSW Mid North Coast. Picture: AAP


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Many of us remember last summer’s bushfires for the smoke that blanketed much of eastern Australia or the terrible pictures we saw on the news.

But for some kids, the impact of the Black Summer fires was far more real. Some lost family members, pets, homes, their school, and saw their local communities and regions devastated by the flames.

During the Black Summer fires 33 people died and 35.8 million hectares were burnt. The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates 3 billion native animals were in the path of the fires, including 60,000 koalas which were killed, injured or left without a home.

One year on from the start of Black Summer, Kids News is launching the Bushfire Poetry Competition.

***BESTPIX*** Bushfires Continue To Burn On Kangaroo Island As Army Reserve Arrives To Assist Clean Up Operations media_cameraAn injured koala rests in a washing basket at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park after being rescued from the fire ground. Picture: Getty Images

We want children and teenagers around the country — and particularly those in fire-affected regions — to share their experiences of the fires, then and now.

Your poem might be a thank you to firefighters, a tribute to all that was lost or a celebration of your own or your community’s resilience.

It might be about how the fires looked and smelt, how you felt back then, or how you feel now, looking back at last summer.

Two poems — one from a primary school student and one from a secondary school student — will be selected to be included in a special book to commemorate the Black Summer bushfires.

The book, a joint project between HarperCollins Publishers, News Corp Australia and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, will capture the experiences of the people and communities affected by the fires — in photos and stories of courage, perseverance and recovery. 

media_cameraA thank you message to firefighters is projected onto the Sydney Opera House in January this year. Picture: AAP

The book will be distributed to schools and libraries in bushfire-affected regions, as well as sold in bookstores throughout Australia.

Budding poets can choose any theme about the bushfires. However, if you are having trouble getting started, here are some ideas that could help:

  • being isolated or stranded
  • being rescued
  • your pets or wildlife in your area
  • the kindness you gave or received
  • the power of nature (destruction and regeneration)
  • a memorial to lost things
  • unexpected friendships
  • the people you wouldn’t have met without the fires
  • the firefighters
  • what your community means to you
  • what you took with you when you had to leave home
  • what you miss after the fires
  • what does recovery look like?
  • how your community is healing

Enter the Kids News Bushfire Poetry Competition here

Your poem cannot be more than 200 words (1400 characters). You will need your teacher or parent/guardian to submit your entry for you, as well as permission from your parent or guardian. Entries close at 5pm on February 20, 2021.

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