Council has joined forces with the Mullumbimby High Student Representative Council (SRC) to launch their Trees for Koalas – Connecting Communities project this week – which aims to plant hundreds of koala food trees on private properties across the Byron Shire.
“The students were concerned about the serious threats to koalas in our region and they approached Council, asking if we could work together to help create more koala habitat,” Byron Shire Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Liz Caddick said.
“As many of the students live on rural properties that are in, or close to, koala habitat, they spotted a great opportunity to invite expressions of interest from students and their families to plant koala food trees at home, and to invite neighbouring properties to do the same,” she said.
“This initiative, which now has backing from DPIE’s Saving our Species program as well as Council, has the potential to do some serious good for our Koala populations and I commend the students for making it happen,” Ms Caddick said.
Council will be helping the students to choose suitable locations to plant koala habitat, as well as giving them advice on how to plant and look after the trees. DPIE’s Saving our Species program will be assisting the initiative with trees and materials.
Koala conservation initiatives like these each play a role in the NSW Government’s Koala Strategy – aiming to conserve and protect koala populations.
Mullumbimby High’s SRC will invite expressions of interest from students and their families, and decide where they would like to plant koala food trees and how many they could look after.
“Students kicked off the project on Tuesday with a planting day at a rural property on the outskirts of Binna Burra where koalas are regularly sited.
“This project will create a vital koala corridor, linking koala habitats established by the property owner, the Binkley family, together with Koala mattresses.
“It is a great way for the students to learn about what’s involved in planting these trees, as well as how to look after earlier koala habitat plantings, so they can see how the seedlings will look on their own properties in a few years’ time.
“It’s a win-win for Council because it’s a win for the koalas, and it also helps us deliver on our commitment to work with the community to help support wildlife conservation activities on private land – a key element of Councils 2020-2030 Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
“This is a good time of year to spot koalas in the Byron Shire hinterland, even mums with babies. Please drive extra carefully at night – or ask your parents to do so, as koalas regularly cross our rural roads and they’re too slow to get out of the way of a car,” Ms Caddick said.