Cultivating Koala Habitat

The Wollondilly Community Nursery's Mission

  • YEAR: 2023
  • STATE: New South Wales
  • FOCUS AREAS: SDG 15: Life on Land

The Wollondilly Community Nursery has been an example of environmental hope for over two decades, drawing volunteers and residents into its mission to create a thriving habitat for koalas in the region. Amidst the backdrop of climate change and habitat loss, this nursery is making a positive impact on the local ecosystem.


Environmental Challenge


The Koala

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is one of Australia’s most iconic marsupials. However, this beloved species population has dropped around 50% in the last 20 years with the species downgraded its listing to endangered in December 2021 under the EPBC Act. This situation recognises the need for special protection and conservation efforts to safeguard the koala’s future in the face of habitat loss, climate change, and disease. 


Why Are Koalas Important to the Ecosystem?

Koalas play a significant ecological role in eucalypt forests. They help control canopy density, allowing more light to reach the forest floor. Their consumption of excess vegetation reduces the fuel for fires and their droppings provide nutrients for forest regeneration during the rainy season. Additionally, their feeding habits make eucalyptus leaves accessible to ground insects, contributing to the ecosystem’s overall balance. 


What’s the Importance of Koalas in Wollondilly?

The Wollondilly region in NSW has a unique natural beauty and its iconic residents, the koalas, have been an integral part of the natural history for centuries. In fact, the first recorded European sighting of a koala occurred near the Bargo River in 1798. 

However, this charming marsupial’s survival has been jeopardised. Not only human development and disease are a threat but also this area was significantly burnt during the 2019-20 bushfires, which destroyed koalas’ habitat, food sources and refuge sites.








Solution: The Wollondilly Community Nursery’s Initiative

The Bushfire Recovery Project (BRP) is restoring vital koala habitat in areas that were affected by the 2019/20 fires. The project grows local provenance plants in community-led nurseries across 4 states that are used to restore native vegetation and ecosystems, supporting biodiversity and threatened species in fire and flood-affected areas.

By restoring habitats with koala friendly trees in Wollondilly, the landscape gets connected with safe passages of habitat for koalas to eat, move and breed. These “koala corridors” also provide an escape route from threats such as fires and road accidents. 

Impact: A Thriving Koala Population

The dedication of the Wollondilly Community Nursery, combined with strong community support and partnerships, has yielded remarkable results:

  • 2500 trees have been grown and planted at the Bargo River Reserve, rebuilding a vital koala habitat corridor.
  • 30 local participants supported planting for koala conservation through community volunteering days.
  • 4Ha of the area has been enhanced, protecting and expanding koala habitat.



The Wider Project Impact: 

  • 1000 + hectares regenerated
  • 526K trees grown 
  • 174 species of local provenance species grown.


In the face of environmental challenges, the Wollondilly Community Nursery stands as a shining example of community-driven conservation. As the nursery continues to grow and expand its impact, the future looks brighter for both koalas and the local ecosystem they call home.

👉 If your organisation is interested in volunteering/funding to help plant more native plants in Wollondilly and support our beloved wildlife, please contact:

👉 To learn more about the Bushfire Recovery Nurseries, click here.


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