Picnics and Dragways?
Author: Tracey Yong
In 2006, Marcus Zorich of the Koala Retreat made an
unconventional partnership with the Western Sydney International
Dragway (WSID) to transform 70 hectares of urban landscape
into a luscious environment that helps both koalas and people.
Building The New Urban Koala Retreat
Members of Koala Retreat and keen community volunteers gather on
National Tree Day to put their hands in the earth to plant native trees
and care for the land. The WSID has set up two ambitious tree-planting
projects, showing the potential of this type of program in an urban
area. The first project is designed to benefit koalas, where leaves can
be recycled and branches brought back for koalas in captivity. The
second is for the people and for the environment, ‘combining economics
These planting projects have added a new dimension to the Dragway, making it more than just a sporting destination but a place where families can picnic under the shade of Australian native trees.
Prior to the program, this urban landscape suffered from dry heat and
wind, with no trees to help retain moisture. The WSID used huge amounts
of water and manpower to keep the grass green all year round. Now in
2010, there have been reductions across the board, in cost, water use
and in labour needed to maintain the area.
Through this long-term project, Koala Retreat has helped WSID improve the quality of its grounds, showing how a natural setting and human traffic can merge and thrive successfully with little cost to the environment.
To find out more about Koala Retreat, visit www.koalaretreat.com.au