This Teenager Could Teach Us A Thing Or Two About Koalas

Chloe Bland has done a school project on saving koalas. Geoff Potter.

Seventeen-year-old Chloe Bland believes environmental responsibility goes hand in hand with the privilege of being a born and bred local.

The Year 12 Pengari Steiner school student’s first home was Little Cove. In this beautiful area Chloe’s first memories include an abundance of trees and wildlife with special memories of koalas.

Through her own observations, research and reading the Biosphere pages, Chloe has completed a project on our koalas.

Here are her views.

“AS PART of our year 12 assessment each student must undertake a major project involving the student in an independent year long project of their choice.

I chose the koala as my area of interest as I have witnessed their decline over 17 years of growing up in Noosa.

Born in Little Cove, on the edge of Noosa’s national park I first observed Spotty Bottom the koala in the gum tree outside my home.

This instilled a love for the koala and every walk into the national park includes gazing up at the tree tops or looking down on the ground for the tell tale sign that a koala is present.

As a family that host international students, we have taken each visitor into the park on their first day in Noosa to look at the natural beauty of the headland and to try and spot a koala.

This always brings delight to the visitors and even for us locals it’s always enjoyable to see one.

In the past few years it has not always been easy to find one and reports of the dwindling numbers have increased.

Many incidents of koala deaths have occurred and the threats to the koala continue to increase.

These are car strikes, dog attacks, disease and loss and disturbance of habitat, most significantly from the encroaching housing developments.

My project has focused on researching the plight of the koala and this included attending the local Koala summit which was held in Noosa in August.

The two day summit brought together members of the community and included talks from a number of experts in their fields. I also focused on the volunteers and the hard work which goes on behind the scenes in advocacy for and care of the koalas.

My mentor for the project was Meghan Halverson who is a volunteer activist, spokesperson and documentary film maker who devotes her time speaking out on behalf of the koala. I have met with volunteer carers who rescue and care for young or injured koalas.

Sometimes the carer role is rewarding when koalas recover and are released but often it’s heart breaking when the outcome is not successful.

Young infants can die despite sleepless nights of feeding and caring for them and many koalas are released back to face the same threats again.

Just recently on the local news it was reported that the local koala population had only three years until its possible extinction.

As a young person who is keen to make a difference I am disillusioned by the lack of urgency from the government agencies that have the power to make a difference.

Given that the koala is so important to our local ecology, tourism and as a national icon, the apparent apathy towards this situation is as alarming as the thought of Noosa without its koalas.”

Story By Chloe Bland, 12th Oct 2012 12:00 PM


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