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Koala Country

Community spotlight: Julie Reid | Environmental Project Officer

17 Sep 2020
Community & partnerships

Julie is the environmental project coordinator for Friends of the Koala in Lismore. Together with a team of committed professionals and volunteers, Julie is working to reduce the immediate threats to the survival of koalas in northern NSW.

Julie Reid conservationist at gate

"Way back in 1978 when I bought my property ‘Taulangau Wildlife Refuge’ it was a degraded ex-grazing property.

With a lot of hard slog and the fantastic regeneration capacity of the local vegetation, we restored the area and entered a conservation agreement to protect the 14 recorded threatened species found on site. The most recent sighting was my first koala browsing in a 6-year-old planted tallowwood.

I started my career in the early 1980s as a protester at Mount Nardi in the Northern Rivers region. It was the site of one of the earliest rainforest anti-logging demonstrations in Australia. I soon realised I needed more knowledge if I was to fulfil my passion and support positive outcomes for the natural environment. I graduated from Southern Cross University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Applied Science. After many roles in natural resource management I moved into environmental project management.

Julie Reid conservationist holds koala

Through managing various projects, I recognised the importance of nurturing relationships with the community. Private landholders are a vital resource when it comes to future planning. There are so many committed landowners with good intentions. All they require is guidance and some funding assistance to kickstart their vision. My recent work has involved working directly with landowners, partnering with community groups and providing ongoing mentoring in natural area restoration.

The future for conservation lies in protecting high conservation value private land in perpetuity. We can’t rely on public land as the only means of securing the protection of koalas.

Since 2014, I have helped coordinate more than one million dollars in financial assistance from local, state, and federal funding bodies on behalf of Friends of the Koala and Jiggi Catchment Landcare. We have restored more than 200 hectares of threatened species habitat, with a focus on koala habitat. The direct involvement of the local community has been critical to our success.

Julie Reid conservationist planting trees with group

There are so many committed landowners with good intentions. All they require is guidance and some funding assistance to kickstart their vision.

I am currently working with thirty-one landowners through Landcare and Friends of the Koala. Seven of these landholders have signed conservation agreements to protect their property in perpetuity.

The direct involvement of the local community has been critical to our success.

Friends of the Koala is working on koala habitat restoration projects in areas where koalas are identified as being at risk. The Wilson River floodplain at Monaltrie is one of those areas where landowners are dedicating time and money to eliminate threats to their koalas such as roaming dogs, habitat fragmentation and attacks from cattle (yes, it happens!).

By improving the condition of vegetated corridors along waterways, we can help provide safe passage for wildlife including koalas. These corridors offer refuge from fire and habitat loss, and may one day be the last stronghold for many of our threatened species in the region."