One mama’s unique approach to ocean and turtle conservation

Passionate about sustainability and working with children, kindergarten teacher Trudie Mckay has created a unique way to bring ocean and turtle conservation to life.

Where did the idea for Trevy’s Tricky Day come from?

I’ve always been passionate about our oceans and, working with kindergarten children, I’m always looking for ways to bring learning to life. Over the last 15 years, I’ve noticed a significant shift towards teaching children about the environment, but I felt the early learning classroom was still lacking in child-friendly resources around sustainability. So, I created the story of Trevy’s Tricky Day and accompanied it with a fun turtle activity for my students.

The activity involved a student taking our toy turtle home each week and showing him what they do in their own home to look after the environment. They would take photographs of their sustainable activities around the home and share them with the class.
It was so successful at engaging the children that the resource was adopted by other classes, then local families. So, after it proved so popular, I took the leap and decided to publish the activity pack professionally.

Why do you feel the approach is so successful?

I certainly had the advantage of working in the industry, so I know what links with the curriculum, what gaps there are in the resources and, most importantly, what works for kids.

Rather than just reading a book and discussing the story, the interactivity of taking the turtle into your own home engages the children on many levels. Showing the turtle and documenting what they are doing at home makes them think about the many little sustainable things they are already doing. Sharing this with the class gives the rest of the children ideas for what they could do at home themselves.

It is also an activity that encourages lots of discussion in the classroom about respecting the environment. Children are so proud to share their sustainable ventures. They all absolutely adore having Trevy come to stay!

I’ve also found that the lessons that are included in the back of the book really stick with the kids. For example, I recently re-read the book to students who did the activity last year and they remembered all the facts they’d learnt from Trevy and the tips on how children can look after ocean wildlife.

Why did you want to make it specifically about the Sunshine Coast?

I love the Sunshine Coast and really wanted to celebrate the incredible ocean life we are blessed with here. I also wanted the children to connect personally with the story, so we included many landmarks that they could spot on the page, such as beach at Mooloolaba and the lighthouse at Point Cartwright. I’m also a firm believer in supporting local business, so I tried to use local companies wherever I could—such as for the printing and publishing.

What’s next for Trevy Turtle?

I’ve already had such fun creating and sharing Trevy’s Tricky Day, I just hope to continue getting the message out there! Following the success of the activity pack and book, I’m hoping to create a program for early childhood services about looking after ocean wildlife. And the growth of Trevy’s Tricky Day on social media also means I can use these platforms to actively support community programs such as Clean Up for the Turtles.

You can purchase a copy of Trevy’s Tricky Day at www.beachlifebooks.com.au


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