At the start of October we laid down a challenge.
We put out the call to staff, conservation partners, corporate volunteers, Queenslanders and young people. We wanted to make a difference for the future of Koalas in the region. We wanted to plant them 20,000 new homes, in just two weeks.
That call was answered loud and clear, with over 200 local community members, Scouts, students, school children, and several different groups of corporate and government volunteers joining us to do the hard yards in the hinterland close to Brisbane, Queensland.
On 30th October we hit our target of over 20,000 new koala homes in the ground in the last two weeks. The last tree of The Great Koala Race was planted by Abram Arredondo from California Conservation Corps on Wednesday 30 October, two days ahead of our expected finish. This planting season, we’ve already achieved over 30,000 new tree plantings, and we’ll be continuing into 2020 and beyond with this important investment in the habitat of one of our most treasured marsupials.
As we mentioned in our previous post introducing The Great Koala Race, we believe that it’s really important for people to know what it feels like to work together, at scale, to make a difference. We’ve been working for over 35 years to make these opportunities happen, and there are more projects like The Great Koala Race in the works.
Phil Harrison, CEO of Conservation Volunteers Australia said “This end result is something we’re all really proud of. It’s a great result for koalas, the environment, the local communities and all the people who joined together to do something special. Congratulations to everyone involved, and thank you to our partners who made this possible.
Our final words come from one of the amazing landowners who put their hand up to make a difference for the koalas. This is the kind of feedback that we live for;
“As you know, our property sits in the valley between the Darlington Ranges and the Mt Tamborine National Park. Both are extensive habitats for koalas, but at the moment the only corridor is on a dangerous spot on the road, and there have been a number of near misses.
These plantings will offer a safe route from the Ranges, across Cedar Creek to the Mt Tamborine Reserve. The team’s careful work has made sure the plants have largely flourished in the first important weeks, even with the hot dry spells, and there are some impressive trees starting up.
The plantings attracted a lot of attention and, while interest in the program among residents of the Albert Valley was already strong because of your work at Woodstock, we have had a number of discussions with others who would also like to join in.”
The Great Koala Race was made possible by our partners, NRMA Insurance, as part of the Every Home is Worth Protecting campaign. Under our partnership, NRMA Insurance funds a tree for every insurance policy sold. Take a look at Arlo the Koala starring in the promo that kicked it all off here. Find out more about our work together (and chat to a koala on Facebook?!) at nrma.com.au/koala
We also need to thank the amazing people of Youth Enterprise Trust who manage Woodstock – one of the properties that we planted almost 10,000 koala homes on across The Great Koala Race. They really came to the party, putting up some of our on ground team for the equivalent of 200 nights of accommodation for free, as well as endless support with site prep, use of Woodstock vehicles and equipment and liaison with visitors and CVA staff on the property. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Finally thank you to Virgin Australia who helped us bring staff and Californian Conservation Corps from around Australia to converge on Queensland. Your help was invaluable! For the full list of project partners, you can also see our Brisbane team’s Facebook post here.