This project focuses on sustaining koala populations in NSW by establishing a sanctuary in the Port Macquarie Region, in collaboration with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. This will be a starting point for koalas to roam suitable habitat and strengthen breeding numbers with protection and support. The sanctuary will focus on educating the public on native wildlife and ecosystems, so everyone understands the importance of wildlife protection.
“If we are to survive, let alone feel at home, we must– Bill Gammage, 2011, p. 22 The biggest estate on earth how Aborigines made Australia.
begin to understand our country. If we succeed, one day we might become Australian”
Koalas are one of the most well-known marsupials of the Australian landscape, being a major symbol to our culture and identity. The 2019-2020 bushfires burnt over 5.5 million hectares in NSW causing distress to hundreds of animal species and ecosystems, including a loss of 5,000 koalas. This situates the species at a major risk of extinction in the wild by 2050 which needs to be urgently addressed. Koalas are an iconic symbol to our nation that to lose such a species would be a major impact to our culture, economy, and ecology.
The signage of The Koala Sanctuary will be an important attraction that will be uniquely designed while informing the public of facts and knowledge of the landscape and koalas. This signage will be located at certain points that inform where koalas are frequently seen and have important environmental factors. These signs will be made out of recycled metal from the houses and properties burnt from the 2019-2020 bushfires as these materials will have no other purpose and rather than being placed in landfill. Now, they will be reused to benefit koalas, the community, and educational purposes. The metal material of the signage will also be able to withstand the prescribed burn around the sanctuary unlike wood, be durable and blend into the environment without changing the natural experience. This idea will provide more meaning to the sanctuary while connecting wildlife and humanity for a bigger purpose.
The information located on these signs will include:
– Koalas facts, biology, diet, habitat, impact, and significance
– Clues in how to look for koalas through scratch marks and droppings
– Structure of geology and soil of the region
– Climate and rainfall
– How fire moves and is naturally apart of the Australian landscape
– How hazard reduction burning occurs and why it is different from back burning
Akala is a creative and determined individual who highly appreciates the outdoors and nature. She grew up on a rural farm, forming a strong connection with flora and fauna directing her to study Landscape Architecture. She will be completing her studies halfway through 2021 and is currently looking for experience in the workforce.