Teacher raises money to help Australian wildfires

Fundraiser supports people, animals threatened


Grace Schultz

Junior Isaac Scott donates toward the wildfires in Australia Jan. 6. Science teacher Jessica Gust hopes to raise funds for resources in Australia.

Kate Schneider

Science teacher Jessica Gust said after seeing the damage caused by the wildfires in Australia that continue to persist, she set up a fundraiser to help those affected.

“I was really saddened by all the stuff I was seeing in the news. It seemed like something we could help out with even in the smallest way. The fires have been going on since October and it’s not getting any better and the people are so desperate for help,” Gust said.

According to Gust, the money raised will toward benefitting a wide range of organizations to assist both the citizens and the animals who are threatened by the wildfires. 

“There’s four different organizations it will go to. One’s for the firefighters, one’s a wildlife rehab organization and then a couple other ones for supporting the people who have been displaced,” Gust said.

Freshman Henry Bendickson said the fundraiser is a great option for people, like himself, who want to help but don’t know how to.

“(The fires) are a big issue right now and I didn’t know how else to get money over there to help. It was an easy alternative to give (Gust) a couple dollars and let her deal with the rest of it,” Bendickson said.

Gust said she wants to raise one dollar for every Instagram follower she has, but hopes to surpass this.

“Initially, my goal was to get the number of dollars that I had for Instagram followers, so that would be like $420. But if we can get more than that, that’s amazing,” Gust said. 

Junior Olivia Etz said wildfires show the effects of global warming and the need for people to work together to protect our environment.

“I think people should care about the wildfires in Australia because animals are dying.  I think it’s related to global warming and we need to protect our earth because it’s the only one we have,” Etz said. 

According to Gust, even if students can’t donate money, educating oneself on worldwide events also has the potential tohelp.

“I think the most important thing (students can do) is take the time to educate themselves and pay attention to current events so you know what’s going on,” Gust said. “Because we’re not there, we can’t do anything with materials, so the biggest thing we can do is donate money and get it over there to help the people who can do the actual on the ground stuff.”

Gust said no matter how far away we are from the fires, the effects still have the potential to have a large impact locally considering it’s all our responsibility to take care of our planet.

“We all live on the same planet and we are all very interconnected. Even though we can’t see it, (the fires are) troubling for lots of people and animals. The scope is so huge that it’s going to end up impacting all of us even if we don’t feel it right now,” Gust said.