The recently created Guula Ngurra National Park, south of Sydney, compliments the surrounding and adjoining National Park estate by improving the habitat connectivity and resilience of local Koala populations.
Guula Ngurra means ‘Koala Country’ in the language of the Gundungurra people who are the Traditional Owners of the area. This name highlights the important habitat for koalas and 21 other threatened species found within the reserve.
Gundungurra Elders hosted Guula Ngurra’s first of many tree planting days in 2020 in collaboration with the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project, staff from Saving Our Species and local NSW National Parks staff (NPWS).
Before becoming one of the state’s newest National Parks, Guula Ngurra was an old farming property called Tugalong Station. The community tree plantings are helping turn the cleared paddocks from this property into linkages between critical koala habitat within the reserve and the surrounding National Park area. These trees will also help restore important koala food trees following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires.
“This is about putting something back for the animals and for the future, because the climate has changed and we need to be more aware of the needs of endangered animals,” Aunty Sharyn Halls, Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Inc.
Four different koala food tree species were planted – grey gum, ribbon gum, peppermint, and forest red gum. These trees were carefully propagated from local species and were planted by neighbouring landholders, Traditional Owners and government staff, working side-by-side. These are the first of many trees that the community plans to install to help enhance and connect existing koala habitats.
“I can’t wait to come back in 10 years’ time when all the trees are taller than me and hopefully see some koalas out here,”
Margot Law, Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project officer.