The Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation held its Wild Koala Gala on Tuesday 2 November, celebrating community action for koala conservation in the region.
Held at Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas, 180 guests frocked up for the cause and enjoyed a sumptuous lunch menu dished up by View Restaurant’s executive chef, Matt Golinski.
Foundation Chair, Rex Halverson said the Noosa Biosphere Wild Koala Gala focused on the challenges and opportunities for sustaining our local koala populations.
“There is no more iconic species than the koala. And Noosa is one of the few places left where you can live and work amongst them, which contributes to the very special nature of living in the Noosa Biosphere Reserve,” said Mr Halverson.
“It was our intention that the Gala ignited an urgent call to action to support our local koala populations and highlighted the incredible work that is currently underway across our Shire.”
A panel of koala experts discussed the plight of the koala and what is being done in the region to protect the vulnerable species. The resounding message however was optimistic and clear – community-wide collaboration is the key to ensuring a sustainable wild koala population.
“Our panel of experts are leading the charge for koala conservation. Groups like Noosa & District Landcare, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Queensland Koala Crusaders, Detection Dogs for Conservation and researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast, are all playing a major role in protecting koalas and their habitat.
“But there is still more that needs to be done, and we need to work together,” said Mr Halverson.
A personal video message to Noosa was also received from world renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall, ambassador to the 50th Anniversary of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme who reinforced the urgent need to conserve biodiversity and for communities to live sustainably.
The Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation launched its Noosa Wild Koala Initiative and Fund to develop a coordinated approach to koala conservation.
The Gala helped kickstart the initiative with $27,000 in donations raised through a silent and live auction. Event partner, Queensland Koala Crusaders matched this with an additional $25,000 added to the Noosa Wild Koala Fund.
Winners of the inaugural Noosa Biosphere Awards were also announced at the event. Noosa and District Landcare won the Land category for their Keeping it in Kin Kin project, Noosa Integrated Catchment Association took out the Water award, Rachel Lyons was awarded the Wildlife category, and Noosa Environmental Education Hub won the People and Economy award.
“We are thrilled with the results of our second Noosa Biosphere Gala and thank our sponsors, supporters, and everyone who attended. Congratulations also to the finalists and winners of the Noosa Biosphere Awards – we’re so pleased to now have a platform whereby we can recognise the efforts of those who work so hard to maintain the Noosa Biosphere’s special nature,” said Mr Halverson.
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