Barrington Tops Greens 'Talking About Koalas' in Gloucester

Photo Scott Calvin
Photo Scott Calvin

More than 40 community members attended to hear three informative speakers.

Cate Faehrmann is a Greens MP in the NSW Legislative Council and the Greens Environment and Wildlife spokesperson. Cate recently chaired the NSW Koala Inquiry which handed down the damning report that koalas in NSW would be extinct before 2050 without urgent government intervention.

Cate spoke about the contributing threats to koalas being habitat loss, logging, urban development, roads, mining, drought, bushfires, and climate change.

Much critical koala habitat is on private property and needs protection by landholders. Strong laws and strategy are required for the survival of the koala.

De Brierley Newton is a community organiser with the Nature Conservation Council NSW (NCC), the state's peak environment organisation.

De assists community groups and organisations across the state and is presently involved in the NCC Koalas Need Trees campaign. De spoke of the need to protect koala habitat. Trees are koalas food source and without trees koalas starve and will not survive.

Penny Drake-Brockman is a member of the Gloucester Environment Group (GEG) and the Koala Ways tree planting group.

Penny spoke of the "concern about the loss of habitat for koalas in our local area, particularly to the removal of eucalyptus trees in new sub-divisions on the north-west slopes of the Bucketts Range where koalas are known to be present in good numbers."

"Mature eucalyptus trees are the favoured foraging and resting trees for these unique animals and few remain in the valley, many being isolated and difficult for koalas to safely access," Penny said.

Shortly after the start of the koala tree planting, Midcoast Council conducted a koala survey of our area and pronounced Gloucester to be one of the three Koala Hubs within the council area. The council is supportive of our work and has contributed extra trees, stakes, tree guards and workers to assist our volunteer members.

The selection of eucalyptus species is limited to those known to be locally endemic with the addition of smaller trees and shrubs to provide diversity and to connect isolated trees, forming safe access through koala corridors. This will not only improve conditions for our koalas, with future secure foraging and resting trees, but also for all other creatures that have suffered the loss of habitat following the clearance of forest trees and shrubs from the valley floors for European-based agriculture.

"We are also aware of the threat of climate change and the necessity to increase tree cover to assist in reducing heat stress for all animals and shade in built up areas. Shade in very hot summers can reduce a local temperature up to 10 degrees."

People attending the evening were deeply concerned and signed petitions and took away educational material.

We thank everyone involved in the event and Cate and De for travelling so far to share.