Koala Smart: a journey to save koalas for future generations - National Tree Day Blog

Koala Smart: a journey to save koalas for future generations

Students in New South Wales are creating positive change in their communities for one of Australia’s most loved animals.

Primary and secondary students across New South Wales can access free curriculum-aligned lesson plans to create positive change to save koalas. 

The status of the Australian icon was formerly deemed "vulnerable" according to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by the federal government but was elevated to endangered last year.  

The Australian Koala Foundation states that there has been a 30% decrease in the number of koalas in Australia since 2018. The report reveals that the most significant decrease was recorded in New South Wales, where the number of koalas has dropped by 41% since 2018

Koala Smart is a free School Program that takes students on an enriching journey aimed at inspiring and motivating them to take action towards the crucial task of preserving koalas for future generations. The program poses the ultimate question of "how do we save the koala?" and encourages students to actively engage in the complex work required to answer it. 

Learn about: 

  • Koala home ranges – how habitat loss and disruption of one koala affects a whole group  

  • Healthy trees for healthy koalas – why healthy trees mean healthy koalas  

  • The heart of the bush – learn about the history, spirituality and ancient links to koalas 

  • The Koala Connection – explore the complex connections between koalas and the environment 

  • Protection for now: Protection for tomorrow – learn how to use policy and planning to protect koala habitat  

  • Shout it to the treetops – students choose one thread, theme or message then create a podcast of an article about koalas that informs or persuades  

At the end of the module, you can submit your solutions to Koala Smart and projects are evaluated for further development.

Fun fact: 

Koalas are named after the Dharug word "gula" or "gulamany", which means "no drink". Usually, koalas do not require water as they can obtain sufficient moisture from the eucalyptus leaves they consume. However, koalas are increasingly being seen drinking water to try and survive heatwaves, deforestation and bushfires. Source: Common Ground

If you're a teacher in NSW, you can register for free lesson plans at koalasmart.org.au, and once you've learned about koala habitat, you can register a Schools Tree Day event!"

Jennifer McMillan

Jen worked as a vet nurse while studying environmental science and completing her master's degree in Journalism. She loves bushwalking, storytelling, caring for baby animals, Australian birds and river red gums. Jen works on the National Tree Day campaign and Planet Ark's Seedling Bank.