Northern Rivers locals are already breathing the fresh of air generated by some 34,000 new trees planted since 2018, thanks to local not-for-profit Bangalow Koalas and their community volunteers.

Established in 2016, Bangalow Koalas is an incorporated not-for-profit whose mission is to create and protect a safe haven and corridor network for Byron Shire koalas so that they can thrive and move across the landscape. They also map local koala sightings and food trees.

By fundraising to purchase seedlings and partnering with local landowners, Bangalow Koalas has planted a total of 34,660 new trees since 2018 in properties across Bangalow, Coopers Shoot, Talofa, Binna Burra, Ewingsdale, Federal, Possum Creek, Newrybar, Fernleigh, Booyong, Clunes, Tabulam and Coraki.

With 15,500 already planted by May, the grassroots not-for-profit will have planted around 40,000 new trees in total across the Northern Rivers by the end of 2020, according to Bangalow Koalas president Linda Sparrow.

To help fund part of a koala corridor between Byron Bay and Lismore, Bangalow Koalas was successful in applying for a grant in last year’s inaugural Northern Rivers Large Grants Program run by the inGrained Foundation, a local not-for-profit established by independent brewery Stone & Wood in 2018.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions impacting volunteer working bees, president Linda Sparrow said Bangalow Koalas has managed to continue planting while providing paid work for two local bush regeneration teams.

“Recently, we received funding from the Biodiversity Conversation Division of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to recruit people seeking work to assist the bush regeneration team to continue planting,” Linda said.

“This includes securing work for seven people in our Byron Shire and five Indigenous rangers from the Minyumai Land Holding Aboriginal Corporation for a property down in Swan Bay near Coraki. This funding will help plant out four large plantings, providing 77 days of paid work for these workers.”

Local environmental and social not-for-profits are currently preparing applications for the inGrained Foundation’s Northern Rivers Large Grants Program 2020, which has invited local charities with DGR status to apply for a grant between $10,000 and $30,000 for projects that align with this year’s theme: regeneration and social connection.

With a total funding pool of $100,000, applications for the Northern Rivers Large Grants Program are open until Thursday 21 May.

Northern Rivers social and environmental not-for-profits with DGR status are encouraged to read the guidelines and apply before Thursday 21 May, by visiting