By Emily Lowe February 25 2023 – 7:00am
Thomas Palmer on the left with bottles he has collected and on the right learning koala detection skills. Pictures supplied
A Birkdale student who has been recycling bottles for change and donating the funds to koalas was given an inside look into koala detection and protection.
Thomas Palmer, 13, collected 600 bottles and cans for five weeks worth $60 under the containers for change scheme which he donated to the Queensland Koala Society Inc.
He raised a further $50 for the Koala Action Group in just a few weeks and donated the funds to the Koala Action Group’s efforts to protect wildlife in the Redlands.
Thomas said he was inspired after seeing koalas in the gum trees of his backyard.
“The idea all started when I did my year six term project at school relating to our we express ourselves and I chose gardening. It evolved from there when my estate community started a Bush Care group,” he said.
University of the Sunshine Coast Bachelor of Environmental Science Honours student Miranda Braakhuis with Thomas Palmer. Picture supplied
“I wanted to make some extra pocket money while also supporting my community, so I started Tom’s recycling, where I collect 10-cent containers and 50 per cent of all proceeds go to koala support groups in the Redlands.
“I’m concerned about the koala population declining and wanted to help increase koalas numbers.”
Thomas said he had some difficulties collecting the bottles and cans until his community started to pitch in, dropping off containers which he recycled with his grandfather.
In recognition of his efforts, Thomas was given a rare opportunity to learn koala detection skills with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dogs for Conservation program.
“I think I should be able to spot them a little better now and know what to look for, [like] koala scats and scratches on trees and not just looking in eucalyptus.
Thomas said he would continue collecting bottles in his efforts to protect koalas.