The best thing about working as a Land for Wildlife Officer is the incredible people that you get to meet. One such person was Stephanie Hicks. I first met Stephanie when she applied for Land for Wildlife on her property at Conondale in the upper Mary Valley back in 2003.

For many years Stephanie lived and worked in Brisbane but regularly made the trip up to Conondale on the weekends. She worked at revegetating her property that had been over-cleared and grazed for many years. She planted and nurtured over 3000 trees on her 9.5 acre block, and these trees now form a small forest.

In 2015, Stephanie retired and made the permanent move up to her Conondale Land for Wildlife property. Not satisfied with restoring just her own property, she volunteered with Barung Landcare and took on the role of secretary.

Planting by Barung Contracting at “Claire Reserve” in late 2023.

Stephanie was also a supporter of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and so she was keen to learn more about the local AWC sanctuary at Curramore near Maleny. After giving it due consideration, Stephanie decided to donate a sizeable portion of the funds required for the AWC to purchase a neighbouring land parcel to expand the Curramore Sanctuary. This area, which she named “Claire Reserve” (after her daughter), has now been planted out to provide additional habitat for Koalas at Curramore (see article on facing page). It also provides some additional habitat for the incredible diversity of other native species that occur in the local area.   

Sadly, Stephanie passed away in 2022 shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Stephanie’s commitment to the wildlife of the Sunshine Coast and generosity in donating funds towards the expansion of the AWC’s Curramore Sanctuary is a legacy that will keep on giving to the Sunshine Coast hinterland and beyond.

It was my privilege to work with Stephanie and many other Land for Wildlife members who demonstrate such an extraordinary and generous level of commitment to conservation.

Article and photo by Nick Clancy
Land for Wildlife Officer
Sunshine Coast Council

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