THE recent winner of the Illawarra Region VET in-schools trainee of the year award, Sam Hodder now has even more reason to celebrate.
Sam, working together with university students undertaking habitat survey work in cooperation with NSW State Forests and the Office of Environment and Heritage, discovered recent koala activity close to The Crossing last week.
Sam is undertaking his school-based traineeship with The Crossing Land Education Trust, a non-profit organisation located near Bermagui which teaches young people about land conservation work and sustainability.
The recent finding was made in Bermagui State Forest between Nutleys Creek Road and the Crossing, about 500m from where a koala was seen last October.
The finding supports evidence found in the same general area in January. Fresh koala mother and baby scats were also located 2km further south west by Sam in March while working with National Parks field staff.
Chris Allen from the Office of Environment and Heritage was also present during the recent survey.
“This was very recent and adds to the evidence gathered mainly by the Crossing staff and students in this area over many years indicating that a small breeding cell of koalas persists and may be recovering,” Mr Allen said.
“Particularly given the broader distribution of the coastal koala population, this is a critical area, and the conservation initiatives and support for the survey program undertaken by the Crossing provides a fine example of community support for koala recovery efforts.”
Mr Allen and The Crossing staff expressed their thanks to Forests NSW for support to enable the ISV students to help with koala surveys close to where they have been doing koala habitat planting, and gain experience contributing to knowledge about koalas.
The Crossing now has 6000 koala tree species back on the river banks for koala habitat connection near the Bermagui River and Coolagolite Creek junctions.
“This will help to stabilise the river banks and link this major corridor between the coastal national parks, the only places where koalas survive on the southern NSW coast,” Sam said.
Recent Landcare work by The Crossing has been supported through funding from the Landcare Borland Bequest and the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program.