Students plant hundreds of koala trees to inspire others
MULLUMBIMBY High School students have spearheaded a new project to boost koala habitat in the Byron Shire.
The school's Student Representative Council launched the Trees for Koalas - Connecting Communities project on a Binna Burra property where Frank Binkley began clearing camphor laurels about three and a half years ago.
Some 5300 trees have been planted since them, predominantly koala food tree varieties of swamp mahogany, forest red gum and tallowwood.
Mr Binkley's son, Max - a teacher at the high school - has continued those efforts by bringing students to plant 400 new koala food trees there.
Year 10 student Malani Farrell was hopeful the project would help to inspire others.
"Even if you don't have a big property, there's still something you can do to help the koalas; you can drive safely at night, don't let your dogs off the leash," she said.
Fellow student Bethany Woods said it was "always fun knowing you helped out the environment somewhere".
Mullumbimby High School principal Greg Armstrong said the project was an "extremely important" opportunity for students.
"It's an outdoor learning space where they can learn about the importance of the environment and the wildlife and they're working together to protect our environment," he said.
Byron Shire Council biodiversity officer, Liz Caddick, said the project had the backing of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's Saving Our Species program, which will assist with trees and materials while the council will help with site selection and other expertise.
"The students were concerned about the serious threats to koalas in our region and they approached council, asking if we could work together to help create more koala habitat," Ms Caddick said.
"As many of the students live on rural properties that are in, or close to, koala habitat, they spotted a great opportunity to invite expressions of interest from students and their families to plant koala food trees at home, and to invite neighbouring properties to do the same."