A 6-Year-Old Boy Makes Clay Koalas to Save Australian Animals From the Bushfires
The bushfires that are going on in Australia have already affected over a billion animals — almost all of them have lost their homes and don’t have enough food to eat or water to drink. When Owen Colley, a 6-year-old boy from Hingham, Massachusetts, found out about this tragedy, he just couldn’t stand idly by. Together with his parents, he decided to make his own contribution to saving koalas and giving them a new home.
We at iBuzz always support people’s kindness, so we’d love to share Owen’s incredible story with you.
This story is deeply personal.
Owen Colley is not only a huge lover of Australian animals, but he’s also attracted to the country for more personal reasons. His father, Simon grew up not far from Sydney and Owen himself had lived there for several months back when he was a toddler. So it’s no wonder that when he first heard about the Australian bushfires, he felt devastated.
When his mom, Caitlin told him about the fires, Owen asked her if any animals had been hurt and she had to tell him the truth. Then the little boy suddenly left the room and returned with a drawing of a koala, a kangaroo and a dingo in the pouring rain. This picture showed his true love for Australia and his wish for the fires to stop.
The boy uses both his heart and hands to help animals.
Together with his parents, Owen decided that he could try to make a few clay koalas and give them to his friends and family who had donated money to wildfire relief. This is where the campaign started.
By that time, Owen already enjoyed making clay animals, so he just turned the hobby into something that could do good with. His mom helped him make a sketch of a koala, one of Australia’s famous animals, and then together, they created the design for a little clay figure.
To make a koala, Owen takes silver Sculpey clay for the head and body, then he uses white clay to make fluff on its ears and black clay for the animal’s face. The whole process of making a little koala takes about 3-4 minutes. They then go in the oven to bake at 275 degrees for 17 minutes.
One little koala can make a big difference.
At first, the Colleys planned to make about 100 koalas and raise $1,000 for charity. But they quickly achieved that goal and decided to create a GoFundMe page with a goal of $5,000. For each person who donated $50 or more, they sent a little koala made by Owen as a “thank you.”
To help Owen understand the amount of money he had managed to raise, his parents invented “joey math.” The word “joey” means “young kangaroo” in Australian slang. Every $25 can help feed one joey for about a month, so it means that one of those cute clay koalas can feed 2 joeys for an entire month!
Thanks to Owen, animals are getting new homes.
All the donations are going to the Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a rescue group based in New South Wales. Currently, they are building shelters for animals who lost their homes and helping volunteers set up feeding stations on their properties so that animals can come to these places and get water and food there.
You’re never too small to make a difference.
As of now, Owen has raised almost $300,000, and people are still donating. However, the family has closed their production of clay koalas until further notice because they’re not able to keep up with the enormous demand. They hope to reopen their koala gifting feature soon.
In the meantime, they’ve created a tutorial on how to make clay koalas so that you can learn how to make one yourself.
Do you agree with Owen’s idea that “helping animals is better than watching TV?” Please share your thoughts in the comments.