Spearheaded by Lily Berntsen '21, a native of Australia, today's Dress Down Day at Gunston is raising desperately needed funds to benefit the Mallacoota Wildlife Shelter Fire Relief Fund. Mallacoota is in the heart of the devastating bushfire region of the Gippsland region of Victoria Australia. Students, staff, and faculty pay $3 each, and the proceeds will be donated to help fund the extensive care these severely injured animals are receiving.
"Australia has been burning for about four months now. Upward of 150 fires have burned through 17.9 million acres of my country and I am here in the U.S. just watching it transpire," says Bernsten.
"My hometown of Ettalong, in New South Wales was only an hour away from a town that has been entirely decimated. Without the firefighters, my aunt's home would have been burned to ash up in Queensland. Twenty five people have lost their lives, the first two of which were honorable firemen who both had children under the age of two. As for our poor animals, upward of one billion animals have been burned to death and a staggering 30% of the Koala population has been wiped out."