Dear Koala Lovers,
Nearly 10 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan donated their property to the AKF for the protection of the Koala and other flora and fauna. This opened up a completely new era for the AKF owning and managing an environmental property. Although we have not sighted a Koala on the property, we have found scratches and scat (the nice word for poo) so we know they are there. We called the property Quinlans to honour their gift. There are other groups they could have chosen and in recent times other landholders have started talking to the AKF about donating their land.
We have found great joy managing this beautiful piece of the world and of course it has been a tremendous amount of hard work. Our motto when we visit is “leave Quinlans better than we found it”. On my recent visit I spent a gorgeous morning pulling Morning Glory, Ipomoea indica, a beautiful plant in the right country but in ours it just smothers all our wonderful native trees. While doing that you can reflect on a lot of things and I do. That of course usually leads to a whole lot of emails to my team to ensure that we all do our best to protect the Koala and its habitat. There is always something to be done and Aaron, our new Koala Projects Manager has remarked “there is always something different each day”.
Ian Harling, our Site Manager, is key to our success at Quinlans and no group or individual can manage even 100 acres unless you have incredible dedication and even more hard work. That said, when I visited recently I could see how much we have achieved in this short time geographically speaking. Ian is so tenacious about the removal of weeds and it absolutely pays off; for each hectare of land we clear, hundreds of beautiful new species seem to pop out of nowhere. Over this summer, I can also see some of our plantings have doubled in size and because I was there for many of those trees being planted, we can use the growth rates to really explain to people that destroying habitats is not a way for the future. I think I have said this before but we have to realise that 85% of the world’s forests have already been destroyed; when I was weeding I kept on thinking: what in the heck are our political leaders thinking when they allow more trees to be destroyed. They are the lifeblood of the planet. I heard this morning that the logging industry in Victoria now wants to log (selectively) in National Parks. With only 3% of the remaining remnant vegetation left in western Victoria, no wonder they want to do this; they are running out and I suppose the opposite side of that argument is that we the consumer are using more and more. Just think about the number of disposable coffee cups we throw away each day!
So, then I have to remember that I am the Koala Woman and that I work for AKF; that my job is to speak for Koalas and their habitat. There is no use worrying about the bigger picture unless you focus on where you fit in to the incredibly flawed puzzle we call life. I still love coming to work each day and I know that as a result of AKF efforts there will be a Koala Protection Act – nothing else will work. That law protects Koala trees, their food source. This year we are building a new team; it’s marvellous to see new energy in this place we call home at 40 Charlotte Street in the city of Brisbane. Have a look at the new and familiar faces and know that they have been carefully chosen. They are the new era dedicated to the job of saving the Koala and its habitat.
It was also pouring with rain when I was at Quinlans and even though there is no reception for digital television, there is an old analogue TV and I took the time to look at some old documentaries, many from the early 90s. Have a look at a clip from one of them, Koala Land by Wild Card Media. As I watched them, I realised many of the Koala people I knew and loved had passed on and some of the bush in those documentaries had been replaced by concrete. In fact, the Commonwealth Games is built on one of AKF’s first research sites on the Gold Coast. Many of the human faces made me smile at happy times past when I first entered into the Koala world. And there were some, many of whom are now long gone from Government, who I believe should be held totally responsible for the loss of the habitats that sustain us and wildlife. No Tree No Me. Unless we protect the trees and Koala homes, this beautiful creature will continue to get sick, visit a hospital or be buried in an unmarked grave.
It truly is pathetic that a Koala Recovery Plan supposed to be finished in May 2014, is still not even started and I am confident that document will be weak. AKF and I are only committed to a Koala Protection Act. Join us.
With huge thanks to you all.
P.s. Don't forget, you can help us celebrate and save the Koala during Save the Koala Month in September!