WWF-Australia is on a mission to double koala numbers by 2050 through our Koalas Forever campaign, and now thanks to some very special supporters, we have exciting updates straight from the field. Husband and wife team, Gray and Suellen have recently moved from the city to north-east NSW to create a new flower farm in north-east NSW. When they heard we were restoring koala habitat with our partners Bangalow Koalas, they decided to get involved and offered a dedicated portion of their land as a safe place to plant thousands of koala habitat trees. In doing so, they have now helped us plant over 100,000 trees that will become a wildlife corridor and sanctuary in the future. We asked Gray and Suellen to share their experience being a part of WWF-Australia's mission to Regenerate Australia.
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Can you tell us about your farm and what you produce?
For many years, we've been living the city life in Brisbane, getting the kids through school and working in office-based jobs. But in 2019, the old dairy farm that sits on the Woodburn-Coraki Road came up for sale and we suddenly realised that maybe the time was right to start making some of our dreams actually happen. With 170 acres on the banks of the Richmond River, we loved that there were grasslands on our farm that had not been grazed for many years, a good patch of remnant native bushland and enough space to establish a new organic flower farm. Since then, we have made a good start on all the jobs and projects that go with getting a flower farm going - from garden beds to fencing - and all things going to plan, we'll start selling locally at "Field and Flower" this coming Spring. We are also in the early stages of planning to farm cattle using regenerative grazing principles. Whatever we do, we very much believe that we need to care for this little patch of paradise we have and want to leave it in a better way than we found it. We need to do our bit to Regenerate Australia.
Why did you decide to partner with Bangalow Koalas and plant trees on your property?
We knew we needed to partner with someone to help us restore the habitat. Bangalow Koalas has a long-term goal to create koala wildlife corridors and we wanted to be part of it. We have found them to be very engaging, supportive and effective at delivering on their goals. We are proud to have helped with this process and feel like we are now part of the Bangalow Koalas family.
Do you have koalas on your property at the moment? Do you hope to see more once these trees mature?
We have heard koalas barking in the native bush on our farm and there's also a colony of koalas about 1-2 km away. We are very hopeful that the range of trees species we are planting with Bangalow Koalas will really provide improved diversity of habitats and food sources for koalas, other native critters and birds long into the future.
What other benefits do you think the trees will have to your property?
Long-term, the range of tree species that have been planted will enhance the biodiversity of plants on our farm and provide a cooling effect to the land during summer. As farmers we need to find a balance and these trees are very much part of that. They enable us to give a portion of our land to do our part to regenerate land back to a bio-diverse, functioning eco-system and specifically, provide habitat for a local koala population. If we can prove that farmers can both farm and restore habitat in balance, then we inspire positive change in our community.
Join us on our mission to Regenerate Australia, and donate to help us plant more trees and restore koala habitat.