Koala Hospital's free tree giveaway to help rebuild koala habitats

Giveaway: The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's annual koala food tree giveaway is on Saturday, March 21.
Giveaway: The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's annual koala food tree giveaway is on Saturday, March 21.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's annual koala food tree giveaway is still open.

Following the devastating bush fires that swept up and down the east coast of Australia, helping regenerate burnt bushland has become a priority for the hospital.

The massive bushfires over the summer shocked many people with their size and ferociousness.

Since the start of the 2019 fire season, a staggering 18.6 million hectares have been burned, and in NSW alone, by the end of January 2020, the fires had burnt 5.3 million hectares (6.7 per cent of the State), including 2.7 million hectares in national parks (37 per cent of the State's national park estate).

The fires created unprecedented damage, destroying land and property, killing people and an estimated one billion animals and destroying habitat.

Steve Withnall, Koala Hospital Habitat coordinator, said the fires in late 2019 and early 2020 caused unprecedented loss of habitat.

"This year's giveaway aims to go some way to replacing burnt trees and helping the habitat start to regenerate. Land holders can take up to 40 trees in each variety and we'll provide advice on how to plant and care for the trees," Mr Withnall said.

This year's program, a joint initiative between the Koala Hospital and NSW Forestry Corporation, has been expanded with more trees - 35,000 in all - with four different species to suit different soil and habitat locations. Tallow wood, Grey Gum, Forest Red Gum and Swamp Mahogany will be available from the Koala Hospital in Macquarie Nature Reserve, Lord Street, Port Macquarie.

Any home owner, school, community or sports group with open space for tree planting, contact the Koala Hospital on 6584 1522.

Up to 40 trees of each variety can be picked up from the Koala Hospital. Larger quantities need to be ordered, and landholders can ring to register.

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