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Save the Bilbies

Posted by on April 11, 2014

A MYSTERY Package Arrives!

A surprise pack arrived for the Battalion Blogger on Tuesday ... we WONDER what it IS?  Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen :)

A surprise pack arrived for the Battalion Bloggers on Tuesday … we WONDER what it IS?
Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

On Tuesday morning, when we came in and gathered on the carpet, we spotted an unusual package sitting on the counter! Right away we could tell, by looking at it, that it had had a ROUGH journey! We could see water stains all over the surprise package. There was LOTS of duct tape and all of its corners were crumpled in! It was SO beat up … it was EVEN missing its PACKING labels! We wondered if, when it went through customs, they had to open it … because sometimes they DO … and then seal it back up!

WHERE did it COME from? What kind of JOURNEY had it been on? Some of us guessed that it had come from PERU! A few of us thought it might have come from Australia! Guess what? Guess who it was FROM? Drum roll … please … Mr. ROSS Mannell!

It sure didn't make much NOISE when we SHOOK it! Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

It sure didn’t make much NOISE when we SHOOK it!
Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

Boy, were WE excited! First, as we passed the mysterious package around … and shook it …  assessing its MASS with our hands … we took some guesses:

  • dvds
  • an echidna puppet
  • chocolate bilbies
  • a koala kleenex box cover
  • adult animal cards to go with the baby animal cards Ross sent earlier this year
  • finger puppets of the animals we researched from the cards Ross sent earlier
  • mini stuffed animals of each baby animal we researched from the cards
Thank GOODNESS Ross had packed this special package in EXPERT fashion. Its contents would NEVER have arrived intact if it HADN'T been packed so well! Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

Thank GOODNESS Ross had packed this special package in EXPERT fashion. Its contents would NEVER have arrived intact if it HADN’T been packed so well!
Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

“What a great surprise. Thank you SO much, Ross, for the gift! We wonder where you GOT the chocolate bilbies … online or in a shop? If in a shop, what shop? The chocolate bilbies are SO cute. We love their little pink noses and ears! But … we love EVERYTHING about them! Where do bilbies live? It ALMOST looks like a BUNNY! When we FIRST saw the ears, peeking out of the box, we were like, “What IS it? What IS it? WHAT IS IT?” Our first guesses were dvds, echidna puppets, chocolate bilbies, a koala kleenex box cover, adult animal cards, finger puppets of the animals we researched, and … finally … mini stuffed animals of each animal we researched! When we first opened the package, we saw LOTS of STYROFOAM. Ross, that was AWESOME packing! You can see the little feet at the bottom of the chocolates and they are SO cute! Thanks, Ross, for ALWAYS extending our learning!” ~Jenna, Catherine and Hilary 🙂

“Thank you for sending us an awesome package. Ross, you are very thoughtful and very smart! We shook to hear INSIDE the package because we HAD to find out what it WAS! You GUESSED it … it was CHOCOLATE bilbies! We might send you a package soon! We cut the box open because we were BURSTING with excitement! Ross YOU spoiled us!” ~Lane

Gosh ... it's going to be VERY tough deciding what to do with our new classroom guests! Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

Gosh … it’s going to be VERY tough deciding what to do with our new classroom guests!
Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

“Thank you Ross. You are very thoughtful. It had a rough journey. The package had chocolate bilbies. When I saw the chocolate bilbies they were so cute.” ~Sam

“Thank you SO much Ross! The chocolate bilbies are SO cute. Some of us want to EAT them! The package looked like it had a hard time getting here. We had NO idea it was chocolate bilbies! We think we should send YOU some chocolate BUNNIES! It was SO thoughtful of you!” ~Melvin & Kale

“Hi Blog readers! We got a surprise package in the mail from ROSS! When we opened the box it looked like it was a box of STYROFOAM! When we pulled the first layer of styrofoam out we saw SIX ears! After we took the second layer of styrofoam out, we pulled the ears and … guess what POPPED out? Drum roll, please! CHOCOLATE BILBIES! The chocolate bilbies are blue and inside their ears and their noses is the colour PINK! Once again, Ross, thank you SOOO much!” ~Noam & Claire

“Thank you SO much, Ross. They look so cute and tasty at the SAME time! It’s SO cool that you sent us chocolate bilbies … and took time our of your week to do it! We were mind blown! But, we’re TOO soft-hearted to eat them! Our class might donate some money to the bilby fund! They look like they are GREAT eating! Bye, Ross! Thanks again!” ~Alex, Amy & Ethan

“Hi Ross. Thank you for sending us that mystical package! It was VERY thoughtful of you to send us that surprise! We enjoyed opening the package! First, we saw styrofoam and then some tinfoil sticking up! When Mrs. Renton took the foil things out … GUESS WHAT/ It was BILBIES! Everyone BURST into surprise! I hope we can send something to YOU!” ~Martin, Cohen, & Zyne

“Wow! Thank you for the chocolate bilbies! They are SOO cute! Some of us really want to eat them but some of us don’t want to eat them because they are really cute! When we saw the box waiting for us we were SO excited. We took some guesses and one of the students guessed chocolate bilbies! He was RIGHT! When we opened it, we saw two ears sticking out of the box. I really wanted to eat them!!! If it wasn’t for YOU we would NOT have chocolate bilbies!” ~Hannah

“What a SURPRISE! Ross sent us not one but THREE chocolate bilbies! Hmmm. I wonder what we are going to do with themse adorable little chocolate munchkins! What do they look like, you ask? They really look like a rabbit, chocolate or not, but their tails are longer and they live in Australia! They are also really cute. Thank you, Ross, for sending those really adorable bilbies! Somehow the box looked like it had a rough journey! Ross, you are SO thoughtful. I LOVE the part when we got to hold the package … somehow we didn’t hear anything when we shook it!” ~Kelly & Kennedy

This is one of the tags that was on our chocolate bilbies. Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

This is one of the tags that was on our chocolate bilbies.
Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

We have been learning about the Save the Bilby Fund because we did NOT know that they were critically endangered.  When our chocolate bilbies arrived in our classroom, we read the special TAGS that were on each of them. We LOVE that the Pink Lady Chocolate Factory is donating 30 cents from each chocolate sale to the Save the Bilby Fund! Our class thinks it is sad that the Lesser Bilby might ALREADY be extinct and that the Greater Bilby is so close to extinction.

Before we were doing our research we thought bilbies were so TINY … but … as we READ more, we discovered that a full grown Greater Bilby can be up to 55 cm long (including their tail, which is around 29 cm). STILL … 26 cm is pretty BIG compared to what we thought! We USED to think that bilbies were TINY like MICE!

We love EVERYTHING about our chocolate bilbies ... their ears, their little pink noses ... just EVERYTHING about them! Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

We love EVERYTHING about our chocolate bilbies … their ears, their little pink noses … just EVERYTHING about them!
Photo by the lovely Mrs. Breen

Ross, we LOVED our special surprise package. Our three adorable chocolate bilbies are sitting in a safe spot on a shelf … and they watch over our learning EACH and EVERY day! We STILL haven’t decided WHAT to do with them. SOME of us think we should:

  • take a PICTURE and then … EAT them ALL up 😉
  • save ONE but EAT two 😉
  • making them the class PETS … they’d be REALLY easy to take CARE of 😉
  • invent a “chilled” glass cabinet so that we can preserve them FOREVER 😉
  • sell raffle tickets to WIN a chocolate bilby … to raise money for the Save the Bilby Fund 🙂
  • sell raffle tickets to WIN a chocolate bilby … to raise money for more books for the Battalion Library Project in Q’enqo Peru 🙂
Naughty Nelson ... PUT that bilby down ... we HAVEN'T decided WHAT we want to do with them yet!

Naughty Nelson … PUT that bilby down … we HAVEN’T decided WHAT we want to do with them yet!

We would ALL hate to see them go … so this is certainly going to be a HARD decision to make! We PROMISE to let you know what we decide to do with our special classroom guests! Thank you, Ross … you ROCK!

8 Responses to Save the Bilbies

  1. Jenna

    Hi battalion bloggers!

    I hope you loved the post as much as I did!

    Our bilbies are SO cute! I would hate to see them go! 🙁 but maybe we should just eat one… Wait forget that we have to save them. It’s like with real bilbies, if we eat one of the chocolate bilbies, it would be like getting them one step closer to them being gone. If you not know what means it just means, that by eating one it’s like get just making one die. Oh I just hate the word die!

    I think that at the bottom where we have a photo of Nelson we should say ” photo by the lovely, Miss Renton!


  2. Peng Peng

    Hi Mrs. Renton!

    I think everybody should be proud of there writing! Everybody did a great job.

    I think we should eat two and save one. So we will still have one for a class pet! 🙂
    I agree with Jenna we should say ”photo by the lovely Mrs. Renton!”

    When will we do another blog post?

    Peng Peng

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Peng Peng!

      I love that you left a comment on the blog! I agree. Everyone worked so hard on their writing. They should feel very proud of their efforts!

      It’s going to be a VERY difficult decision to decide WHAT we are going to do with our lovely bilbies! Like someone said in the post … if we eat them they are gone forever! we will figure it out! I love the idea of keeping one as a class pet!

      You and Jenna are funny! I guess we can almost assume that most of the photos on the blog this year I have taken … unless it says otherwise! 😉 Thank you for the sweet words!

      What did you think of the link I shared of Prince George visiting the bilbies at the zoo in Australia?

      Mrs. Renton 🙂

  3. Ross Mannell

    Hello Battalion Bloggers,

    It’s wonderful to read the three Chocolate Easter Bilbies made it all the way to Canada. I had to try to pack them carefully to protect them from heat and knocks. It seems the packaging worked well. Here is a link to a reply for your above comments, including some new bilby links…

    Being such a chocolate fan, I know the bilbies would eventually become too tempting for me. 🙂

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia.

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Ross!

      We LOVED this extended comment! Our special little bilby friends are still hanging out with us … we STILL haven’t decided that we want to eat them and never look at their adorable little faces again! Here are our thoughts on your AWESOME comment:

      “Hi Ross! Thank you SO much for always extending our learning! The baby biblies are SO cute. CUTER than baby BUNNIES! Even though I LOVE bunnies the bilbies are CUTER than bunnies. We STILL don’t know what to do with them! Sorry it took us SO long to reply! Thank you, again, for always extending our learning!” ~Noam

      “Hi Ross! Sorry about the late reply. We are very busy! We’ve been making iMovies … with our marionettes! Uh, ya … bilbies. So cute but TASTY! Yum, yum! I LOVED the video of feeding the bilbies! By the way, you should BUY a bilby and name it COCO! Cute name, right? By the way … Prince George LOVES bilbies!” ~Amy

      “Hi Ross! That video that you sent us was SOO cute because of the bilby’s big ears! I’m sad that there are only about 1000 bilbies in the wild. I wish I could pet the bilbies. Sorry we couldn’t reply so fast. One of the teachers in the school has one of the books you told us about. We are going to read it. I can’t wait for your reply! I really wish I lived in Australia.” ~Ethan

      “Hi Ross! Thanks for leaving an awesome comment. I loved the youtube videos, especially the one where they were were feeding the bilbies mealworms. I still think we should eat two chocolate bilbies and save one because I really want to taste one. But, we still don’t know what to do with them! I can’t believe that there are only 1000 bilbies! Hopefully the bilbies’ population will grow!” ~Peng Peng

      “Hi Ross! We are so interested in bilbies. We also loved the videos! Too bad we can’t adopt one in our classroom! They are SO cute! They’re all fluffy and all nice and fuzzy! It’s too bad they are endangered! I feel really sad. We hope that bilbies don’t get extinct. If they do get extinct then we would be crying and it would be the end of the bilbies!!! Do the bilbies in the wild get much food or water? Thank you for extending our learning!” ~Catherine & Kelly

      “Thanks, Ross, for once again stretching our learning! Our class was so mind blown that there are only 1000 bilbies in the wild. One of our teachers actually HAS the book Hunwich’s Egg. Our class can’t believe that the bilbies’ name stands for long-nosed rat! We would NEVER say it looks anything like a rat! Thanks once again for leaving a comment on the blog!” Alex & Isaac

      “Hi Ross! Sorry for not getting to your reply that quick! We have Hunwich’s Egg in our library but someone has it out. A HUGE thanks for giving us some chocolate bilbies! I don’t know what to do with the chocolate bilbies! Maybe we WILL take a picture and then EAT IT ALL UP! Yummy!” ~Zyne

      “Thank you for ALWAYS extending our learning! The videos that you sent us were SO cute! We only have the Hunwick’s Egg book. But, one of the other classes has the book! my favourite video was the bilby one! Oh, thank you for the awesome extended comment! The bilbies in the video were adorable. I hope that the bilbies don’t get extinct!” ~Aya

      “Hello Ross! Thank you for the bilby facts and thank your for the awesome comment! I lOVED all the videos that you sent us. And, thank you so much for always extending our learning! My favourite video was the video that asked people about bilbies. My favourite part in the video is when the bilby keeper fed the bilby! I had some lowlights about that video … that was when the bilby was eating worms! Once again, thank you SO much for the comment!” ~Hannah

      “Hey, Ross! It was SO thoughtful of you to send us a comment. I never knew that bilby meant long-nosed rat. It really stretched our learning. Our class till does not know what to do with the chocolate bilbies. I think we should keep the picture and eat the chocolate! The bilby post was SO cute. Once again, thank you Ross … it was so thoughtful of you. PS I would like to adopt a bilby!” ~Kale

      “Hi Ross! Thank you for replying to us again with an AWESOME extended comment. 🙂 We are SO sorry it took us SO long to reply to your AWESOME extended comment! I LOVED ALL the videos you put on the comment. I had no idea that there are only 1000 bilbies left in Australia in the wild. That’s SO sad! The links were SO cool! I can’t believe that one of the websites shoed one of the baby bilbies inside the mother’s pouch! It was sort of gross. I don’t think that I would want to see that in REAL life! Once again, thank you for leaving an awesome comment!” ~Claire

      “Hi Ross! It’s very thoughtful of you to leave an extended comment! We were very surprised when your post told us that there is only one thousand bilbies in the Australian wild! We are so lucky to find the book Henwick’s Egg by Mem Fox in our school. That was a big surprise! We really loved the beautiful chocolate bilbies. We hope we can adopt a bilby!” ~Martin & Cohen

      “Hey, Ross! Thank you for leaving us each great comments! We loved the video at the end of the post because of the blooper at the end! 😉 One of the teachers has the book Hunwick’s Egg and she was my kindergarten and Grade Two teacher! We are going to borrow it from her. You can adopt bilbies! We saw a video of Prince George’s visit to the Taronga Zoo!” ~Daniel & Melvin

      “Thank you SO much, Ross, for the AWESOME extended comment! It was SO thoughtful of you to think of us! Our class thinks it’s SO sad that there are only about 1000 bilbies left in the wild. 🙁 We loved ALL the youtube videos and we think that it is SO nice of you to take the time to look at all those videos and find the perfect ones for us! We like almost every animal but, the bilby is one of our favourites! Why, you ask? Because they’re pretty little and their long noses and ears are TOO cute! Their little eyes sparkle with CUTENESS! We also love how they jump when they walk! Once again, thank you SO much, Ross!” ~Jenna & Hilary

      “Ross, the information on the bilbies that you sent to us inspired me! In the video they said that the bilby is critically endangered and people are trying to save them at the bilby foundation. It is very important to the country of Australia to protect the bilbies. Thank you for sharing the information. I hope more people can help the bilbies.” ~Lane

      Thank you SO much, Ross. We LOVE our learning journey with you! Our thinking caps are ON … we have BIG decisions to make. To eat, to save .. to eat … to save? Hmm.

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  4. Kirsty Stewart

    Chocolate bilbies are great. Want to know why we should have them instead of Easter Bunnies? Do our free English language lesson on bilbies and kiwi, the damage rabbits cause to land in Australia and an interview with Save the Bilby Fund cofounder, Frank Manthey.

  5. Ross Mannell

    Hello Battalion Bloggers,

    Your school year is almost over while ours is reaching the middle. How time flies when we are able to share our learning journey with others. It seems such a short time ago when I visited the Battalion Bloggers’ first posts and now you are joining the others from your school who are experienced Battalion bloggers who have helped the Q’enqo people and their library during their school year. You have all made a difference! 🙂

    Noam – Don’t worry it took so long for you to answer. I know being very busy means we have much to do but not always the time. I’m a bilby fan but not so much of a bunny fan as they aren’t native to Australia. I like our dinkum* Aussie animals.
    Dinkum – an old Australian slang word meaning true or honest. To be fair dinkum means you are telling the truth.

    Amy – I know Prince George was fascinated by the bilbies, especially the one now named George. Being a chocolate fan, I know the chocolate Easter Bilby is tasty. 🙂

    Ethan – I am trying to take photos and some video of many Australian animals and have visited two zoos this year in search of more to photograph/video. I have added animals such as the tree kangaroo and Tasmanian devil but no nearby zoos have had bilbies. I hope to add some bilby photos when I next get the chance to travel north. By collecting my own photos, I’m able to share them online and allow students to use the photos. My website shares some of the photos I have in my collection. At the top of the webpage you will find links sharing photos from zoos and other places …

    Peng Peng – While I can resist the temptation for many things, I couldn’t resist the chocolate so I don’t know whether I would be strong enough to leave one bilby uneaten. You are stronger than me. While bilby numbers are low in the wild, there are a number of people involved in breeding programs so we hope the cute little guys have a great future.

    Catherine & Kelly – Some of the biggest threats to bilbies in the wild come from habitat loss because of human activity and competition from rabbits and the presence of feral (not native) predator animals such as cats and foxes. When a breeding program is set up in the wild, feral animals (rabbits, fox, cats, dogs) are kept out. Bilbies are adapted to dry climates and can thrive when free from threats. They don’t normally need to drink water as they get it from the food they eat.

    Alex & Isaac – Yes, bilby is a word borrowed from the Yuwaalaraay Aboriginal people from the north of my state and it is said to mean long-nosed rat. They do have some similarities to rats/mice and more with rabbits but I think bilbies are much cuter. The Yuwaalaraay wouldn’t have had experience with rabbits because they weren’t introduced into Australia until 1859. If the people did know about rabbits, they might have named them long-nosed rabbits.

    Zyne – I have photos of the chocolate bilbies and can keep them but I wouldn’t be able to resist the chocolate. 🙂

    Aya – With the Save the Bilby Fund and a number of breeding programs, I think we have a good chance of saving the bilby and possible re-releasing them into the wild.

    Hannah – Bilbies are omnivorous (eat plant and meat) like us but a tasty menu for them would include “insects and their larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi, and very small animals” (from Wikipedia). Humans also eat these (yes in some cultures even spiders and insects)…
    Insects – grasshoppers are a delicacy in some Asian cultures
    Insect larva – Many Aboriginal people in Australia ate witchety grubs. I have been told they taste a little nutty.
    Seeds – wheat, corn, rice, etc
    Spiders – a delicacy in Cambodia and some other places
    Bulbs – e.g. onions
    Fruit – you can name many
    Fungi –mushrooms
    Very small animals – we eat many such as shellfish, anchovies, etc.

    Kale – I think I would agree with you. I have photos of the chocolate bilbies but I couldn’t resist the chocolate. I hope at some time in the future to be able to add photos of real bilbies to my photo collection. The closest location with bilbies I know is the zoo Prince George visited in Sydney, i.e. Taronga Zoo.

    Claire – The pouch to a young marsupial is a comfy home. When carers look after orphaned marsupials, they usually have woolen pouches where the young marsupial can go in to feel safe and warm. It’s sort of like a warm hug from your parents or a warm bed on a cold night.

    Martin & Cohen – Mem Fox is one of our greatest writers for the young (and people like me). If I see her name on a book , I expect a good story and, with her illustrator, a feast for the eyes. “Henwick’s Egg” gives you an idea of the quality of her books. Another favourite of mine is “Possum Magic”.

    Daniel & Melvin – Animal adoption is a great way for zoos and animal sanctuaries to raise funds to care for their animals. While you don’t get to have the animal with you, you know an animal is doing well because of the help you are giving.

    Jenna & Hilary – I must agree bilbies are very high on the cuteness meter but I now know you have discovered another cute little Aussie, the antechinus (marupial mouse). I know people in my area have found them in their houses and gardens at times. The one in the photo I shared with your class had been caught in a trap where peanut butter was the bait. The scientists in charge of collecting, recording and release believe they caught the little male in the photo twice. He must have so loved the peanut butter he came back for a second taste before the traps were removed. Do you think he knew he’d be released?

    Lane – Sad to say, Australia has lost many small animal species since European settlement in 1788. The settlers brought European farming ideas and destroyed habitats by clearing land. Animals they introduced competed with native animals. Realising the value of animal diversity (having many types), there are a number of programs trying to save endangered species.

    This may be my last major comment for your class this school year. As with classes before you, I really enjoyed what we have been able to share in your school year.
    I know your class is one of those intending to supply names for the 2nd birthday post on my blog so I look forward to your suggestions. Sometime later this year I will probably make my 200th post on the blog. What a journey! I wonder how many words, photos and videos I have shared? I wonder who will receive the 200th post? Of course, next year I hope to celebrate my blog’s 3rd birthday. There seems to be always something just around the corner.

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

  6. Ross Mannell

    Hi everyone,

    Only today I was reading my latest copy of the monthly “Australasian Science” (Volume 35, Number 5 – June 2014) when I came across a small article on the bilby so I thought I would share what I have learned…

    The oldest bilby fossil records seemed to show bilbies have been around for about five million years but a new 15 million year old fossil bilby has been found. They now think the first bilbies appeared around 25 million years ago when they separated from bandicoots. They also recovered a 15 million year old bandicoot fossil in the same area.

    They gave the bilby species the name Liyamayi dayi (day’s round tooth) but my favourite naming was for the bandicoot. As the age of the bandicoot fossil seemed to have crashed through the time periods, they nicknamed it Crash Bandicoot after the game character. 🙂

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

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