A BRIGHT young woman from Brassall is feeling empowered for a career in the outdoors after completing a koala conservation project with the Green Army at Peak Crossing.
Lauren Thomson, 18, was among five young people from Ipswich and the Fassifern to graduate from the Commonwealth Government program recently.
The team worked for eight months on a Queensland Trust for Nature property on Mt Flinders Rd set aside for koala habitat.
Ms Thomson and her peers cleared 40 hectares of lantana and fireweed, hitting double their target of 20 hectares, and completed 2km of fencing on the property.
They also planted five hectares of trees, including blue gum and acacia trees for koalas to eat from, and reported wild dogs and pigs for animal management.
Ms Thomson said she found the experience enriching.
“I’m so grateful to have had this job – it’s taught me so much about the environment and so much about myself,” she said.
“I’ve gained a lot of inspiration and experienced what it’s like to have a job that’s not indoors, and I’ve gained really great skills and some lifelong friends.”
Felicity Shapland from Queensland Trust for Nature praised the graduates for their work.
“The work they’ve done has made a huge difference to the property and has had a particularly massive impact down in the creek – it means it’s easier for the 15 to 20 koalas we have on this 650 hectare site to access food trees,” she said.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a Green Army team on board since we bought the site in 2014 and the results have been great – both for the participants getting to learn new skills and for the environment locally.”
Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz said the project was a win for everybody.
“These participants have made a solid contribution to the local environment and I’m proud to be part of a government which supports such an enriching program,” he said.
“Great work to the graduates for their solid efforts to learn and increase their skills for the workforce.”
Applications close October 24 for the Mt Mort Green Army project, which starts in November.
To apply visit http://conservationvolunteers.com.au/green-army/queensland/
Caption: Brassall woman Lauren Thomson is pictured with Felicity Shapland from Queensland Trust for Nature, fellow graduates Jordan Korner, Dylan Parsons, Nicholas Bymolt and Tyrone Stenner and Suzie Nicholls from Conservation Volunteers Australia.