The end has arrived for Lismore City Council’s Green Army, but teams have left their mark by improving habitat for our local koalas.
Over the last 2 ½ years, 45 young people on five Green Army teams have worked to restore koala habitat in the Lismore local government area. This final project focused on Nimbin and surrounds.
Envite Environment Green Army supervisor, Morag Turnbull said “ The teams have planted over 6000 koala food trees, propagated 5000 trees and controlled weeds to restore existing koala habitat over 68 hectares.”
The teams worked with private landholders wanting to restore koala habitat on their properties. Committed landholders have helped with fencing, tree planting and weed control.
Dan Cox, Envite Environment Restoration Ecologist, met with landholders and conducted site assessments to select project sites. Dan said “So many landholders in the Nimbin area want to restore koala habitat and other native vegetation on their property. The demand for assistance far exceeded what the Green Army teams could undertake. The work that has been done will make a difference but there is still much more to do.”
Morag said “The work has been challenging. Lots of steep slopes, hot, then wet conditions, plus all the usual leeches, ticks and prickly plants. Despite this the teams have done a great job. A lot of the participants were attracted to this project because they really want a better future for koalas in this area.”
Koalas are a threatened species in New South Wales. Threats include loss and degradation of habitat, dogs, cars and disease. The Green Army projects were implemented with support from Friends of the Koala who assisted with site selection and provided training to Green Army participants about propagation of koala food trees and threats to koalas.
The Green Army teams have been able to provide practical support to landholders to improve and connect koala habitat. They have gained skills in plant propagation, bush regeneration and working as a team. Participants have gained directions and hope with some progressing to work as bush regenerators while undertaking training in Conservation and Land Management at TAFE. Others have entered horticulture traineeships, found employment or gone onto further study.
Green Army is an Australian Government programme. These projects have run in partnership with local councils, Landcare groups, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and others. In late 2016 budget cuts led to an early end for Green Army. The last of over 50 Green Army projects run locally by Envite Environment will end in mid 2017.
Envite Environment and Lismore City Council are sorry to see the end of Green Army. We thank all participants for their contribution to restoring koala habitat and wish them all the best for the future.