Kev the koala can be seen paying regular visits to the trees in the Lismore Botanic Gardens.
Kev the koala can be seen paying regular visits to the trees in the Lismore Botanic Gardens.

A bird, a lump? No, it's a koala

The word seems to have gotten out that the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens are a great place to hang out. During the last open day at the botanic gardens, members of the public were treated to the sight of three koalas in the gum trees around the BBQ car park.

Over the past eight years, volunteers have been planting local rainforest species in the gardens, which are next to a planting area being rehabilitated by Friends of the Koala. Marie Matthews, one of the volunteers at the botanic gardens, said she now sees koalas there regularly.

“It’s the first time we’ve found three koalas here,” Marie said. “As the trees get bigger, the canopy is getting closer together and we are seeing the koalas in the gum trees next to the rainforest species we are planting.”

Work days are being conducted at the botanic gardens on the last Sunday of every month and everyone is invited to come along and help out. The work days start at 8.30am, with the gates open from 8-8.30am and you should bring your hat, gloves and morning tea. From 9am, the gardens are then open to members of the public who would like to come along and see how the garden is growing.

“If you are lucky, the koalas will show up when you come to visit,” Marie said. “The first time I saw one, I was excited when I realised that the lump in the tree was actually a koala.”

One big koala, who has been nicknamed Kev, has become a regular visitor on workdays.

“It’s a bonus when you are working in the garden and you see there’s a koala watching you,” Marie said. “You feel like he’s in charge of the whole thing and we are just his underlings.”

As well as needing volunteers to help with weeding planting and mulching, garden organisers are trying to raise money to build toilets and a visitors kiosk.

“If you want to get involved, we need volunteers with new ideas as well as an education officer to talk to the public,” Marie said.

For more information, you can download the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens newsletter from the Lismore City Council website www.lismore.

nsw.gov.au. Follow the links to Council Services, then Botanic Gardens.

To get to the botanic gardens, go to the main entrance of the Lismore waste facility on Wyrallah Road, then turn off to the right after 100m and follow the signs into the garden.


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