About Koala Smart

What is Koala Smart?

Koala Smart is an educational program for Primary and Secondary schools that encourages teachers and students to use a variety of disciplines to explore how to protect koalas and koala habitat for future generations. Koala Smart provides teachers with class-room ready resources designed to deepen studentsā€™ understanding of koalas and the threats they face.

Koala Smart’s History
Koala Smart was founded in 2019 and since has attracted participation from over 300 schools from all across Australia. It began as a project of the Tacking Point Lions Club. It is now a separate charitable entity under Wildlife Smart Ltd.

Our purpose is to encourage the next generation to actively create positive change and save our koalas. We aim to connect like-minded people and organisations, share resources and, collectively work smarter for the benefit of the environment. Koala Smart has partnered with Koala Conservation Australia to drive home the message that action now will result in a more positive future for koalas.

It is also supported by the NSW Koala Program and their officers, who will help take classroom concepts into the real world.

Why is it important to educate the next generation about koalas?
Significant research and data collected in recent years predict that, if current urban growth practices continue, koalas could become functionally extinct in the next 35 years. The koalaā€™s plight has only become more urgent following devastating bushfires on the mid-north coast during the summer of 2019/2020 which killed hundreds of koalas and decimated vast tracts of koala habitat. It is believed that a significant step in preventing this catastrophe is education ā€“ at all levels of the community.

Raising the next generationā€™s awareness of Australiaā€™s largely unique biodiversity while encouraging and supporting their initiatives brings us closer to a more positive future for our koalas.

Koala in a tree

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The Koala Smart Team

Koala Smart is only made possible by the expertise and dedication of our team

JANICE MCGILCHRIST

JANICE MCGILCHRIST

Chairperson / Director

Janice is the Chair and Co-Founder of Koala Smart and has served the community in a variety of roles over the past 30 years.Ā 

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Her background in administration, marketing and communications has seen her work across several sectors including, business, manufacturing, and broadcasting.

Janice was a nationally recognised and awarded broadcaster, working in commercial radio before joining the ABC as a morning presenter.

She has served on several Cultural and Community boards in regional NSW including Arts Out West, The National Trust, and Lions Club as well as serving as a Councilor on Bathurst City and Bathurst Regional Councils helping to increase community awareness and engagement across important local issues.

As co-founder and manager of the Koala Smart program, she values the role of volunteers and community driven change and believes empowering children with knowledge and hope will drive positive change and outcomes.

Jan appreciates the strong results that can be achieved when organisations, both government and non-government, work together.

Robert Bruce

Robert Bruce

Board Treasurer / Director

Rob has formal degrees in engineering, marketing and strategic planning with over 30 yearsā€™ experience in the oil and banking sectors.

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Now retired, Rob has been heavily involved in community activities in his home city of Adelaide and more recently in Port Macquarie.

His volunteer work has included public works, construction, event management, and fund raising. All with a focus on enriching communities and improving their quality of life.

As a returned Vietnam veteran, Rob works through the RSL to assist, wherever possible, veterans and their families in need and endeavours to remind younger generations of the tragedies of war so that they do not forget the price of conflict.

Passionate about protecting the environment, Rob is a co-founder of the Koala Smart project and has encouraged its growth and aspirations for the future.

DAVID SHERLEY

DAVID SHERLEY

Director

David is currently employed as the General Manager of Bathurst Regional Council. He has an interest in the facilitation of regional growth to ensure the future
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sustainability of rural Australia, in particular the areas of infrastructure development, cultural and sports tourism and regional planning.

David is a member of Central NSW Joint Organisation. He has a Bachelor Ec (Sydney University), M Bus (CSU), a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies (Deakin) and holds a membership of the ASCPA.

As the General Manager of Bathurst Regional Council, David has been involved in a wide range of matters such as; operations of the Mount Panorama Racing Circuit, the development of museum facilities in Bathurst, community strategic planning, economic and infrastructure development and overseeing the implementation of Councilā€™s Community Strategic Plan.

Cheyne Flanagan

Cheyne Flanagan

Director

Cheyne is a Wildlife Biologist and was awarded an OAM in 2023 for her services to wildlife conservation. Cheyne held the position of Clinical Director

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of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for 22 years. Cheyne is now the Koala Advisor for Koala Conservation Australia which also includes being the advisor for the Wild Koala Breeding programme. This unique programme involves working with key partners Taronga Conservation Society and Wildlife Genomics Australian Museum and collaboration with the University Sydney, University Queensland and the Australian National University.

Cheyne is a specialist trainer in koala rehabilitation throughout New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, since 2003. She has worked as a volunteer trainer in wildlife rehabilitation for 40 years.

Wendy Henry

Wendy Henry

Director

Wendy is an experienced educator with over 30 yearsā€™ experience in various educational settings, specialising in STEM, High Potential Gifted Education

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and Environmental Studies.

Currently serving as a Curriculum Advisor for the NSW Department of Education, she is dedicated to enhancing learning outcomes for students in New South Wales schools.

Wendy’s passion for nature is evident in her work, where she designs and teaches engaging Rich Tasks that challenge students to devise practical solutions for environmental issues. Her impact is evident as many former students attribute their passion and career choices in environmental studies to their experiences in her classroom.

Wendy encourages her students to “be the change, create the difference, and stand for others.”

ANN-KATHRIN KIEHN

ANN-KATHRIN KIEHN

Content Writer & Advisor

With more than 32 yearsā€™ experience, Ann-Kathrin is a recently retired Science and Sustainability primary school teacherĀ 

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with a passion for environmental education, and in particular, koala conservation.

She was a co-founder and board member of The Nature School in Port Macquarie. Since then, has spearheaded numerous sustainability programs, motivating students to play an active role in fostering a positive impact on their environment.

Ann-Kathrin was awarded the AAEE NSW Sustainability Teacher of the Year in the 2022 Environmental Education Awards. Her dedication and commitment have led to positive social and environmental impacts within the schools she has taught in and in her local community.

Ann-Kathrin is also active volunteer with Koala Conservation Australia and heads up the education team at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

She adopted Koala Smart while still teaching and has since championed the program wherever possible.

Lynne Wallace-Greenberg

Lynne Wallace-Greenberg

Support

Lynne is a graduate of the University of New England (UNE) and holds a bachelorā€™s degree in environmental science, majoring in conservation ecology.

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She is currently undertaking a masterā€™s degree in environmental science and management at UNE with a focus on conservation.

Lynne has worked as a veterinary nurse in a number of large animal and companion animal practices as well as in a voluntary capacity with Project Borneo, caring for vulnerable wildlife including Orangutans and Sun bears. This experience focused Lynne on the importance of the conservation of native fauna. She has since had numerous voluntary roles with wildlife organisations such as the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, WIRES and Coffs Harbour Animal Rescue Trust (CHART).

Her grounding in conservation ecology enables Lynne to effectively support Koala Smart and their members on a variety of tasks that require attention to detail including fact-checking and project development.

JANICE MCGILCHRIST

JANICE MCGILCHRIST

Manager

Janice is the Chair and Co-Founder of Koala Smart and has served the community in a variety of roles over the past 30 years.Ā 

Expand to read more
Her background in administration, marketing and communications has seen her work across several sectors including, business, manufacturing, and broadcasting.

Janice was a nationally recognised and awarded broadcaster, working in commercial radio before joining the ABC as a morning presenter.

She has served on several Cultural and Community boards in regional NSW including Arts Out West, The National Trust, and Lions Club as well as serving as a Councilor on Bathurst City and Bathurst Regional Councils helping to increase community awareness and engagement across important local issues.

As co-founder and manager of the Koala Smart program, she values the role of volunteers and community driven change and believes empowering children with knowledge and hope will drive positive change and outcomes.

Jan appreciates the strong results that can be achieved when organizations, both government and non-government, work together.

Koala Smart Partners

NSW government logo
Koala Conservation Australia logo