Since 1986, Friends of the Koala has been the voice for koalas, raising awareness and educating local community members, landholders, policy makers, visitors and the next generation regarding all aspects of koala and habitat conservation, protection and restoration, health and vaccination.
An important part of that role is being politically active and addressing faults and inaccuracies in both local, state and national legislation.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT US
“FOK is the voice for all koalas’ survival throughout the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. They continue to be a forthright advocate, a committed community educator and an eager partner in koala-related research.
The group also facilitates long-standing friendships amongst its members, providing many with a sense of family, belonging, and purpose. The social aspect of FOK’s function is often overlooked but it’s important to the success of the organisation’s mission and to community cohesion.”
- Lorraine Vass AM
Burribi Community Education Centre
Community Education Centre Burribi (Burribi is the Widjabul word for koala) can be found on-site in East Lismore, right next to the Koala Hospital and Care Centre.
This is where we host daily educational tours, provide training to volunteers and meet with community members and other stakeholders to talk about koala conservation. If you would like to visit the centre and meet some of our resident koalas, book a tour.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT the centre
“Friends of the Koala’s Community Education Centre in Lismore improves awareness of the plight of our koalas and FOK’s vital work in saving injured native wildlife”
- Lismore MP Janelle Saffin
Childcare centres, schools and businesses
Our volunteers or veterinary team are happy to visit your childcare centre, school or business in the Northern Rivers to host a fun and interactive presentation about koalas and answer any questions you might have. Contact us here to schedule a visit.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT US
"We would like to thank Linda and Lola from Friends of the Koala for sharing information and their extensive knowledge with our educators and children. We all learnt so much!"
- Eden Creek Fairymount Preschool
Local markets, stalls & events
Friends of the Koala volunteers can often be found at local markets, stalls and events talking about koalas and their habitat, creating awareness of the threats they face and raising funds for our organisation.
If you are organising an event in the Northern Rivers and would like us to attend, please contact us!
One of the ways we promote understanding and support for koalas in the Northern Rivers is to articulate the concerns of our members and supporters to those who are responsible for implementing government policy or in a position of influence if policy reform or review is needed.
We promote awareness and encourage discussion by bringing issues to the public’s attention through the media and then providing information and advice.
Friends of the Koala’s advocacy work encompasses writing letters and submissions, providing advice by telephone, website, Treetops newsletter or in writing, issuing media releases, meeting with elected representatives of the three levels of government, addressing local government councils, participating in public meetings and referring enquirers to the most relevant organization.
Advocacy work often involves alliances with other environmentally-focused community groups and we enter into alliances when we assess that it will achieve mutual benefit and greater effectiveness. We’re active in matters ranging from local developments and issues to national policy.
Northern Rivers Koala Network
To advocate for and increase regional communication FOK started organising regional communication meetings in 2016.
This evolved into the Northern Rivers Koala Network (NRKN) - a group of representatives from 15 key stakeholders working on koala projects in the Northern Rivers. Members include representation from the six councils, and both local and (inter)national NGOs and conservation organisations.
Partners and organisations outside of the region are invited to meetings to provide project updates and opportunities for collaboration. The group meets bi-monthly, and the aim of the group is to work strategically and collaboratively across our region for the benefit of koalas.