My Visit to Koala Science Institute

The Koala is a laidback leaf-muncher who gets hassled by the bad boys of the Aussie bush.  Not by other native animals but tree-lopping developers and domestic pets.  Koalas are a unique marsupial which needs human protection to survive.  And eucalyptus trees, of course.

At Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, an 18-hectare Koala conservation park in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket, Queensland, there is a new facility dedicated to Koala health and well-being.  I paid them a visit to learn more…

20180929_133722
Greeted by mother and baby on arrival at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane. On this visit I didn’t hug a real Koala but you can!

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus, not a bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia.  It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats.

To quote the KOALA SCIENCE COMMUNITY dedicated to Research, Connect, Protect:

“United by a common purpose to conserve koalas across their range, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Brisbane City Council worked together to build and establish the Brisbane Koala Science Institute, located at the sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland. The Institute and this online community are further supported by Lone Pine’s not-for-profit organisation, the Research for Nature Foundation, which will help fund various South-East Queensland koala projects, in partnership with local scientists, researchers, and industry professionals.

Our aim is to bring together like-minded individuals in a knowledge-sharing environment to foster innovation, facilitate collaboration, and enhance accessibility, with the aim to deliver real, practical outcomes beneficial to the local wild koala populations.”  Affiliated with https://www.zooaquarium.org.au/index.php/world-class-koala-research-facility-now-open-at-lone-pine-koala-sanctuary/

At the unique Brisbane Koala Science Institute at leafy Lone Pine, I was pleasantly surprised at how much Koala information I absorbed in a short space of time.  There are interactive (and multilingual) displays, research labs with public viewing areas and a koala observation area.

♥ Koalas have special teeth for grinding down eucalyptus leaves which ferment creating sleeping patterns which mean they can sleep more than 18 hours a day.  ♥ Koalas have large, strong claws to help them climb smooth-barked eucalyptus trees.  ♥ A Koala baby, joey, lives in the mother’s pouch for six months then grows up to become a big eater, consuming about one kilogram of eucalyptus leaves per day.  ♥ Koalas front paws can grip small branches as they reach for the juiciest leaves.  ♥ Koala lifespan is between 10 to 16 years which naturally depends on environmental conditions.

20180929_133359
This Blue-Winged Kookaburra swooped down and kept a watchful eye on our lunch, however, it’s best not to feed human food to native wildlife.
20180929_134953
Afternoon tea, two coffees and two muffins, one caramel and the other blueberry, both with edible chocolate circles iced on top.
20180929_133858
The wishing well outside the front entrance to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary with plenty of coins and “I Love Australia” badge.

Although I focused on the Koala, there are many more unique Australian species to see here, from kangaroos to cockatoos, eagles to emus in a beautiful bushland setting.  I recommend the following link and video highlights featuring all the wildlife residents of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary:

https://www.koala.net/en-au/wildlife
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_XXqPirJUU

20180929_134157
A quick guide to the wild birds around Long Pine Koala Sanctuary. Behind the sign, an Eastern Water Dragon lizard came out to sunbathe on the brickwork.

And here’s my link to a post I wrote last year:
https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2017/09/01/save-the-koala/
You can adopt a Koala through Australian Koala Foundation.

Koala Adoption Certificate (3)
Adopt a Koala today! https://www.savethekoala.com/adopt-a-koala

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Logo

Thank you, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for a relaxing, informative and enjoyable visit.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Save the Koala

Koala Foundation Logo 05

Imagine if all the food outlets in your city were destroyed in one day.

Imagine if you’re a Koala and all your food trees were destroyed in one day.

It’s unlikely to happen to you, but it’s a frightening fact of life for our Koala population.

A tree is food, shelter and safety for a Koala.

Now imagine if all that was taken away from YOU.

“No Tree No Me”

Koala Foundation Logo 04
https://www.savethekoala.com/shop

Violet Koala

“Save The Koala Month” September each year!
Website: Australian Koala Foundation Save the Koala
Follow: Facebook Australian Koala Foundation

Koala Crying in Gumtree 02

Also check website Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane
“World’s First and Largest Koala Sanctuary”

I visited Brisbane Koala Science Institute at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2018/09/30/my-visit-to-koala-science-institute/

Gretchen Bernet-WardKoala Foundation Logo 06

Garden Notes on a Warm Winter Day

Dear Diary, it’s a calm, warm July day, almost like an early Spring, but there are no butterflies or buzzing insects.  The crows call to each other across the back garden and noisy miners flit back and forth like feathered investigators on an important assignment.  The children in the house behind my suburban block are jumping on a netted trampoline and soon there will be a cry and a parent will take them off.  The towels have been on the Hills Hoist clothes line for two days.  A dried-out agapanthus head is sticking straight up out of the perennial foliage, a reminder that I am not a conscientious gardener.

IMG_3643
Tomatoes
Rosella Flower 01
Rosella
Pointsettia 002
Poinsettia
Agave 03
Agave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So saying, in a green square pot I have grown a very tall tomato plant with fat green tomatoes (above) emerging every day.  The old mandarin tree has a yearly crop of pale orange-coloured mandarins, and my rosella plants are flowering (above) while the spring onions and ginger roots carry on regardless.  There are non-native plants like a small pomegranate, poinsettia bright red and blooming (above) and our huge native gum tree towers over all of us; blossom for the parrots and fruit bats.  Special mention goes to our agave family.  These Mexican beauties (above) love our subtropical climate and we’ve given away more young plants than I can remember.

IMG_0517
Hoya

 

IMG_0451
Coffee Flower
Bird Nest 02
Nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, there’s the herbs, for better or worse, always trying so hard … The trailing hoya (above) was a joy with its pink waxy flowers but recently it decided it had had enough and shrivelled up.  The ancient mulberry tree went the same way, dying in the drought a few years back, followed by the peach and avocado trees.  The coffee bean tree (above) survives anything.  We live on a sloping hill with poor soil which is interesting because many years ago cows grazed on the lush hillsides around us.  My father once said “All your good top soil has been washed downhill”.  Not so long ago the rich alluvial earth along the creek at the bottom of our street was plundered and no doubt sold for landscaping.

When I first lived here, the suburb was casual with a leafy roughness about it which made for a relaxed, friendly vibe.  Indeed, every home was owner/builder and most residents chose not to erect fences nor were there any footpaths.  Trees were planted to shade homes from the fierce western afternoon sun and if you were lucky you had a ceiling fan.  Ah, the 70s, a time of emerging from the past and forging ahead with little regard for past cultural or community identity but, in so doing, it created a unique city.  Strangely, if not surprisingly, it has taken about 40 years for the people of Brisbane, Queensland, to appreciate our subtropical city.  The past is now nostalgically and fondly remembered as the concrete is poured for yet another highrise apartment block.

If real estate developers would let us, we would return to our friendly, informal way of life instead of building cement block homes and painting them grey like every other capital city in Australia.  To take my mind off the screeching of chainsaws as they hack down another leopard tree (above) I will write a little bit about our front garden.

Palm Blossom 001
Date Palm
Alkina Flame Tree (6)
Flame Tree
Orchid on Flame Tree
Orchid
Jacaranda in Afternoon
Jacaranda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maiden Hair Fern
Fern

 

 

 

 

 

In the front garden, and I use the term loosely, there is structure and visions of edging and all, but I have let that slip.  Two tall palm trees (above) on either side of the house echo early Queensland-style seen in rural areas.  Tough-as-old-boots golden cane palms dot the area while I think our camellia is a Melbourne throwback.  The stocky Illawarra flame tree with its pink orchids (above) was planted to complement the purple jacaranda nextdoor (viewed from balcony).  I will not describe the weeds like camphor laurel, monstera or umbrella trees always springing up between the lemon scented tea-trees and more civilised shrubs.   Does anyone still grow ‘mother-in-law tongue’ and ‘cast-iron’ plants?  Cast iron is an unkillable broad leafed low-growing plant and I think it was beloved of early Victorians as either a hothouse or indoor plant in brass pots on wooden stands.

In the back garden, what there is left of our lawn is covered in bindii prickles thanks to lawn mowing contractors who disperse them willy-nilly via their lawn mower tyres.  You can read my screed on Lawn Mower Men.  There is a shallow bird bath under the eucalyptus tree for the enjoyment of noisy miner birds.  On a tiled outdoor table, I have my inherited maiden hair fern (above) in a small pretty terracotta pot.  The pot was thrown and fired by a neighbour and friend over thirty-five years ago.  This little fern is hardier than most!

Apart from hedging bushes of murraya, or mock orange, there is no strong scent in the garden and no ornamental plantings with fragrance except a straggly French lavender potplant.  Our forebears had a bit of foresight when it came to planting leafy, sheltering greenery in an otherwise hot landscape.  It’s our trees which stand out, they, and others like them, represent our suburban streetscape.  Long may they tower over us!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward