In 1974 my husband and I started looking for land. My husband heard of a 12 acre property in Jimboomba and after work we drove out to have a look. As we drove up the driveway, the moon was up and it shone on a beautiful big blue gum, we fell in love with what we saw and still feel the same way now. For many years we grazed cattle until the last drought when there was no grass left and feed became too expensive to buy so we sold the last cows. I am glad we did as the native grasses, ferns and herbs are now in abundance, the regrowth is expansive.

I have planted extensive gardens in the house yard which are mainly native. There are rainforest sections and ponds and each year new varieties of wildlife make our property their home. This year we were amazed by the large variety of butterflies. When we first moved to our property we knew very little about plants or wildlife and friends used to give us exotic plants to plant, I am still trying to remove some of these today.

The last two years we have had kookaburras nesting in a white ants nest in an ironbark tree not far from our house. They are communal birds and the whole family feeds one young, when the baby is ready to take its first flight the whole group are there supporting and protecting.

We joined the Land for Wildlife program in March 2010, we want to keep our land as is because one day we won’t be able to manage the land any more and will probably have to sell. We don’t ever want to see the land subdivided and developed and so we looked into the Department of Environment and Resource Management’s (DERM) Koala Nature Refuges Program.

I contacted DERM and spoke with a Senior Nature Refuge Officer who has taken us through the entire process of becoming a Koala Nature Refuge.

The minister signed the contract on the 9th December 2010 and we received our certificate and contract soon after. We are very excited to know that the majority of our property is now protected forever! We have a 5 year revegetation plan in place with a contractor and all of our barbed-wire fencing is being replaced with a 4-strand plain wire fence. We are now waiting for our signs to arrive; it will be very exciting to put up a large sign that says ‘Van der Loos Nature Refuge’.

All in all 2010 was an exciting year, we were motivated and our goals were achieved!

Article by Merryl Van der Loos Land for Wildlife member Jimboomba, Logan City

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