The recognition of the threat to and importance of koalas in and around Bangalow led to formation of Bangalow Koalas in 2016 to not only help protect koalas but to help expand wildlife corridors and koala habitat. Since 2018 they have facilitated the planting of 34,000 trees across a range of local properties.
Bangalow Koalas are now employing extra people to help plant more trees during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have received $22,000 of funding to support their continuing plantings that have now employed seven people in Byron Shire and five indigenous rangers near Coraki to facilitate four big plantings in conjunction with their bush generation team.
‘The government grant for these plantings has come through the Biodiversity Conservation Division of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and allows us to provide 78 days of employment between those 12 people,’ said Bangalow Koalas president Linda Sparrow.
‘We already employed a bush regeneration team and this funding is allowing us to get more skilled people a job during COVID-19 and also to help save the koalas. We are able to continue with these plantings in a safe ways with COVID-19 precautions in place.’
The first planting that Bangalow Koalas did generated significant interest from landowners in the area who want to support the local koala and wildlife populations. This includes the tress they planted in a disused paddock on the property of artists Hilary Hermann in Bangalow with funding from the inaugural Northern Rivers Large Grants Program, run by the inGrained Foundation. inGrained is a local not-for-profit established in 2018 by the independent brewery Stone & Wood.
‘We got the funding in 2019 and used it to plant over 2,300 trees on her property and have put another application in for a grant in this year for inGrained funding,’ said Ms Sparrow.
The 2020 inGrained round for funding grants is still open for applications. For more information on applying read the guidelines and apply by Thursday 21 May.
‘We have also just finished another planting on Pat Rafters property that he funded and we have a small planting of another 650 trees talking place tomorrow on another property,’ said Ms Sparrow.
If you have land or a property that you think would benefit from planting koala feed trees and bush regeneration contact Bangalow Koalas.