By Luke Voogt
Koala rehabilitation efforts that caught the eye of international travel guide Lonely Planet have received a $9000 boost from council.
Council recently awarded the amount to Koala Clancy Foundation, which has planted about 16,500 trees at 11 greater Geelong sites since 2016.
Recently foundation president Janine Duffy appeared as spokesperson for Australia, which won Lonely Planet’s community restoration award for its koala rehabilitation efforts.
The foundation plans to plant more than 3000 trees and shrubs along a corridor of privately-owned farmland near Little River.
“This project is especially critical given the impact of climate change and the likelihood that koala habitat away from waterways will become increasingly dry,” Ms Duffy said.
“We’ve been lucky to find a landowner willing to provide a broad corridor, allowing us to convert a large area of farmland into grassy woodland.”
The majority of trees for the project will be sourced from a local nursery, with others to be sown from seed by volunteers.
Property owners Michael and Anne Smith said they had no hesitation in providing their farmland for the project.
“We are delighted that Koala Clancy is committed to the region and planting a few thousand trees to help restore this land, and council’s grant enables the project,” Mr Smith said.
Windermere ward councillor and Lara local Kylie Grzybek stressed the importance of the You Yangs area for endangered native plants and animals.
“It’s so important that we do what we can to help them survive and thrive into the future,” Cr Grzybek said.