In 2020, our committee aims to focus on the positive – positive solutions that we can all try, to better look after ourselves and our planet. We have invited guest presenters to write a short article in this spirit, and we will publish one each month. We hope you find them inspiring. This month our guest writer is Meghan Halverson from Queensland Koala Crusaders.

Koalas are on the forefront of people’s minds not just in Australia but around the world today. The koala is an iconic species and much-loved animal and for many, the koala (and of course the kangaroo) is the symbol of Australia!

People love to see a koala in the wild and they often come to Australia just to see them. The koalas’ presence amongst us is an important contributor to our local visitor economy as well as a source of joy for those of us who work or live here.

The challenges facing the wild koala are well known….

Unprecedented heat and drought, raging bushfires combined with continued habitat loss and fragmentation due to development is challenging the sustainability of koalas in the wild as well as the many other animals that live under their canopy.

Queensland Koala Crusaders is assisting with rescue and rehabilitation efforts for sick and injured koalas, as well as planting trees. Our ultimate goal however is to create a sanctuary for them here.

Our vision for this sanctuary includes a community hub where locals and visitors alike can learn more about native species of flora and fauna and how to provide space for all things growing!

Eucalypt forests are the lungs of Australia and comprise 77% of Australia’s total native forest areas (covering approximately 100 million hectares of the landscape!).

Our fire season this year has brought tragedy to these ecologically diverse and vital habitats. In Queensland alone we lost nearly 250,000 hectares of bush and across Australia we have lost nearly 5 million acres.

We need innovative ways to move forward for our trees, our landscapes, our food production and our footprint upon this planet.  While we know the earth can regenerate and thrive again it will not quickly replace old growth trees so we must do more to address this loss of habitat now.

By planting 5 trees for every “koala food” tree lost, we can regenerate forest growth (we can even improve on this by planting 7-10 for every tree lost).

We must also encourage a mix of land use to keep koalas healthy and happy as well as keep ourselves fed and happy. Permaculture mixed with regional ecosystem plantings can work in harmony and can assist with the regeneration of the land.

There has never been a better time to look for innovative solutions to protect our planet and ALL its inhabitants.

Since 2009, Meghan Halverson has been an advocate for koalas and their trees and believes that the greatest things we can give back are the forests lost and the connectivity between them. In 2012 she co-founded Queensland Koala Crusaders Inc, who are dedicated to improving koala conservation outcomes for both individuals and the species. Their mission is to be “a voice for the koala” and there has never been a more urgent time than NOW to speak up on their behalf.