In 2020, when local Girl Guide, Grace George, learned of a koala that walked 40 kilometres from Kurrajong to Glenbrook to find suitable habitat, she was inspired to act.
Now, with help from Blue Mountains City Council’s Environment Team and Blue Mountains Bushcare, 50 local plants – including favourite eucalypt species of koalas – have been planted around the Springwood Winmalee Guide Hall in Singles Ridge Road.
Last year, Grace George wrote to the Mayor about the need to create a mid-Mountains koala sanctuary to support the two large koala colonies located in Kurrajong and Campbelltown. Her letter spoke of the loss of koala habitat caused by the devastating 2019/20 bushfires and the ongoing threat koalas face from tree removal for land development.
Mayor, Councillor Mark Greenhill, commended 11 year old Grace for her proactive approach and her care for our unique wildlife.
“When Grace wrote to me of her plan to create koala habitat on the Guide Hall property I was impressed by her initiative and passion,” Mayor Greenhill said. “Council is proud to support Grace and all our future custodians of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains we are so privileged to call our home.”
COVID restrictions repeatedly delayed the planting session however research scientist, Victoria Inman, from Science for Wildlife was able to speak to the Guides about koala surveys conducted across the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury.
Science for Wildlife surveyed eight Blue Mountains Council reserves in November but the koala detection dogs, Groot and Zulu, were unable to detect any evidence of koalas. This may be due to the recent large volume of rainfall that could have washed away koala scats.
For this reason, koala surveys may be repeated in the future. One koala scat was discovered off a trail in Faulconbridge and there are other potential sites in the lower Mountains yet to be surveyed.
Photo: (left to right) Guide Leader Sue Chandler, Susan Templeman MP, Guide Leader Dianne Strahan, Grace George, BMCC Mayor Mark Greenhill, BMCC Councillor Nyree Fisher and BMCC Education and Engagement Officer Gillian Fitzgerald.