Tarrawanna Public School student Avalon Jankowski loves animals, so when she was asked to solve a real world problem using technology she knew straight away she'd make something to help them.
The eight-year-old built a circuit that alerts wildlife when a bushfire approaches, which has won third place in a national school technology competition.
Her 'Wildlife Alert' is designed to be wrapped around a tree "like a watch" and make a loud alarm sound when the environment becomes very hot.
"It has to be not too high on the tree and not too low," she said.
She built a prototype with a Lego model of a village and used a hairdryer to replicate the heat of a bushfire.
"[I decided to create this project] when I started hearing about houses getting burnt down and that they all got burned down and the animals getting hurt by it and homes and people," Avalon said.
"The alarm will scare off all the animals and warn the community in the area that there is a fire, then it will send a silent alarm to SES and fire services."
How does it work? Watch Avalon's presentation below:
It all started with a bushfire at Mogo Zoo
In 2019 Avalon was excited to visit Mogo Wildlife Park (formerly known as Mogo Zoo) for her fifth birthday but her plans were cancelled because of the Black Summer Bushfires.
The South Coast zoo staff battled the bushfire on New Year's Eve in 2019 with some staff taking small animals home with them.
Years later, Avalon remembers that birthday and said it inspired her to create her project.
"The animals were okay but we couldn't get to go [to the zoo] and I kept seeing like trees, and that burnt down," she said.
Big grins from the finalist
Avalon won third place in the years three to four category of the Young ICT Explorers competition (NSW division) for her innovative project.
She competed with 44 other students in her division and about 784 students participated across the country.
"It was very surprising. I cried of happiness and at first I didn't know if I heard it right but they announced it and I felt so happy," Avalon said.
The competition encourages students to solve real-world problems using technology and is supported by CSIRO, The Smith Family, and industry and university partners across Australia.
Avalon hopes that one day a company might help make her idea a reality.