THE Mornington Peninsula Koala Conservation 2022 project is well underway, with more than 14,000 trees planted this year around Balnarring and Merricks, and another 6000 scheduled for planting by the end of October.
This year marks the project’s third year to establish vegetation corridors linking fragmented populations of koalas. Thousands of trees were planted at Arthurs Seat, Somers and Balnarring during 2020/2021.
Group president, co-founder and 2022 Mornington Peninsula Shire Citizen of the Year Dirk Jansen said the project had received support from property owners providing land for tree planting, and volunteers.
“We would love to welcome more of the community to join us at our planting days throughout September and October,” he said.
“Many hands make light work. It is very satisfying to be a part of a group of keen volunteers and plant five hundred trees in just two to three hours. It is a lovely way to start the weekend.”
Jansen received the citizen of the year award for his work in establishing the MPKC. What began as a Facebook group to share concerns about the decline in numbers of koalas on the peninsula, has now grown to a 300-member Landcare groups.
He said the loss of indigenous vegetation was the main reason for the decline of koalas on the peninsula.
“More than 70 per cent of koala and wildlife habitat on the peninsula is on private property. Therefore, it is not good enough to expect Parks Victoria or the government to do more to save our wildlife, it is a community issue and needs a community effort,” he said.
Jansen said providing indigenous vegetation links between habitat pockets meant koalas would be less likely to be injured or killed crossing roads, caught in fences, or being attacked by dogs.
“We have so many opportunities for volunteers to make a real difference to our environment and provide shelter and food for koalas and other species. As a community, we are stronger when we work together,” he said.