Griffith University hosted budding young scholars at the Family Koala Fair, sparking a passion for conservation and lifelong love of koalas.
More than 1,150 people attended the Griffith EcoCentre which accommodated the free fun family event during the school holidays.
Griffith student Eco Ambassadors took families on Toohey Forest bushwalks teaching children the secrets of koala detection and tracking.
Eco Ambassadors ran extra tour sessions through the day taking more than 450 families on tour.
Griffith’s EcoCentre was abuzz with interactive and educational activities for all ages including face painting, koala painting, competitions, trivia, colouring competitions.
In her final year of a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Event Management, Family Koala Fair Event Organiser Jamie Hein brought the exciting community event to life as part of her internship with the Social Marketing @ Griffith team.
“Koalas are an Australian icon, and their survival depends on educating future generations about their wellbeing and conservation of habitats,” Ms Hein said.
“Child-friendly talks were delivered by the RSPCA, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) and Griffith’s EcoCentre koala experts throughout the day.
Founding Director of Social Marketing @ Griffith and Behavioural Scientist, Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele works with entities such as DES, WIRES Wildlife rescue, South East Queensland and Northern NSW local governments to deliver campaigns for koala conservation.
“The status of koalas was upgraded to endangered in February 2022,” Professor Rundle-Thiele said.
“This gives koalas a less than 20 per cent chance of surviving in the wild.
“Only two per cent of species on endangered lists get off these lists.
“Many of the threats koalas face can be prevented.
“Our team are hard at work across Southeast Queensland letting people know how they can help koalas and we are currently helping Northern NSW to start their first coordinated communication effort.
“Reporting koala sightings through apps such as QWildlife or iNaturalist is one way people can help.”
The event was supported by funding from DES and Griffith University.