Koala campaigner in line for prestigious award
THE next NSW Environmental Citizen of the year could be from the Byron Shire, after the woman behind Bangalow Koalas was recognised for her incredible, continuing fundraising efforts.
Safeguarding an Australian icon can be hard work, but Byron Shire’s Linda Sparrow is a woman on a mission.
Now, the energy behind Bangalow Koalas has been named as a finalist in the 2020 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Award.
The award is sponsored by the Return and Earn litter reduction program and recognises outstanding efforts by individuals or organisations for environmental projects.
In 2016, Ms Sparrow set out to map and protect the Bangalow koala population while gathering support from the local community.
This led to the creation of Bangalow Koalas in the same year, which has become a movement with national and international recognition.
Ms Sparrow has raised more than $450,000, planted 26,000 trees, grown a social media presence and run many community workshops to help protect the koalas she loves so much. Her passion is contagious and she’s a big reason this koala population is prospering.
Not surprisingly COVID-19 hasn’t stopped Linda or Bangalow Koalas with 24,000 trees planted since February this year.
“Our aim is to have a koala corridor connecting Byron Shire to Tenterfield in the west, Grafton to the south and the Tweed to the north,” Ms Sparrow said.
“We’ve set ourselves a target of putting at least 41,000 trees in the ground around Bangalow and other parts of the Byron Shire this year and we will meet that target without a problem,” she said.
“This dream of ours goes well beyond the Byron Shire and we have people from far and wide coming to our tree planting days which is so gratifying.
Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said Linda Sparrow was already a winner on both counts – as an individual and as the co-ordinator of Bangalow Koalas.
“In the last two years Bangalow Koalas has planted 43,236 koala food trees and the group was named the winner of the Byron Shire Environmental Project of the Year, announced on Australia Day,” he said.
The NSW Australia Day Council will announce the winner of the 2020 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year in early June.