Caring for our Koalas and our Environment

2nd “Caring for our Koalas and our Environment” Symposium is being held at UNSW Rural Clinical School, Shared Health, Research and Education Centre (SHREC), Port Macquarie campus, 20 Highfields Circuit, on Thursday 6 June, 9am to 5.30pm. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be served.


“Caring for our Koalas” is the first dedicated annual conference about koala conservation for environmental scientists, wildlife carers, zoos, nature-based tourism organisations, local government and all members of the community with a special interest in preserving Australia’s iconic koala.

“Caring for Koalas” symposium is a highlight of the Hello Koalas Festival which takes place every year in Port Macquarie around the June Long Weekend.

This one day meeting of presentations and discussions is designed to extend the conversation about koala conservation more frequently through a platform of invited speakers, engaging both experts in the field, the local community and similar communities committed to koala conservation and the environment.

Our core aim is to promote and create new ways of advocacy and community engagement to support the work of organisations dedicated to koala conservation and environmental sustainability.

We are planning a broader community approach, across people of varying ages, keenly interested in koala conservation and the environment:

  • volunteers in government and community environmental organisations
  • designers of educational programs for young people
  • members of the tourism sector (emphasising the role of nature-based tourism and the socio-economic value of the ‘iconic koala’)
  • traditional and social media

We also seek to reinforce society’s increasing focus on environmental factors which influence health and wellbeing.

Conference Speakers

  • Peta Pinson, Mayor, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
  • Cheyne Flanagan, Clinical Director, Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie, Koala Preservation Society of Australia
  • Mike Roache, Threatened Species Senior Team Leader, and coordinator of the Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Dr Brad Law, Principal Research Scientist, Forest Science Centre, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
  • Chris Slade, Senior Ecologist, Hardwood Forests, Forestry Corporation NSW
  • Kathy Lyons, Senior Manager, Forest Stewardship, Forestry Corporation  NSW
  • Dr Karen Ford, Research Fellow, Division of Ecology and Evolution, Research School of Biology, ANU
  • Dr Ben Moore, Senior Lecturer (Ecology), Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney
  • Todd Maher, Director, Programs, NSW Natural Resources Commission
  • Dr Rebecca Montague Drake, Ecologist, Hastings Macleay Koala Recovery Program
  • Bill Larkin, Environmental Strategies Officer, Kempsey Shire Council
  • Scott Lawrence, Environment Manager, Pacific Highway Upgrade & Northern Project Office, NSW Roads and Maritime Services
  • Linda Sparrow, Co-Founder, Bangalow Koalas Association, Byron Shire Council
  • Assoc Prof Rosemary Black, Interpretation & Ecotourism, Charles Sturt University, Port Macquarie
  • Rob Bruce and Janice McGilchrist, Koala Smart Schools Project, Lions Club
  • Adriane Boag, Wellness and Environmental Program Producer, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • Jayne Weller, Senior Veterinarian, National Zoo and Aquarium, Canberra
  • Megan Donaldson, Visitor Experience, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra
  • Margret Meagher, Project Director, Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail, Port Macquarie
  • Dr Matthew Loft, Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics, Australian Museum


Suggestions for pre and post symposium excursions:

  • Koala Hospital Port Macquarie
  • Sea Acres Rainforest Centre
  • Old Bottlebutt in Burrawan State Forest (pictured)

Please contact if you would like advice about these nature-based experiences.

For special rates at Sails Hotel for the conference, email or visit

Our core aim is to promote and create new ways of advocacy and community engagement to support the work of organisations dedicated to koala conservation and environmental sustainability.  All Welcome.

The conference will be of particular interest to:

  • Environmental Scientists
  • Researchers in Conservation
  • Veterinary Practitioners
  • Zoo Professionals
  • Wildlife Carers
  • Landcare Members
  • Forestry Managers
  • National Parks Rangers
  • Educators – NFP environmental programs, school teachers
  • Students – conservation, environment
  • Conservation Groups and Volunteers
  • Tourism Sector including eco-tourism and nature-based tourism
  • Local Government including natural resources, biodiversity and tourism
  • Public Health and Animal Welfare
  • Media
  • Community – People with a special interest in all things “koala”!


How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

  • Contact Margret Meagher, Director, Hello Koalas Festival, Port Macquarie-Hastings
  • Email:
  • Mobile: 0416 641 482

“Caring for our Koalas and our Environment” is presented by the Hello Koalas Festival and supported by Destination NSW, Forestry Corporation NSW, Hastings-Macleay Koala Recovery Program, Koala Hospital, Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association and the Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

We thank the expert speakers we have gathered for sharing their knowledge and information about wildlife conservation, and in particular the koala.

And we thank our delegates for attending and contributing to this meeting, demonstrating their interest and concern in preserving our koalas in Australia. 


Share this