Students’ ideas help Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie

19 JUNE 2019

Students’ ideas help Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie

Charles Sturt University students have used their course assessment tasks to improve the visitor experience at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

  • Charles Sturt students researched and proposed new designs for the Koala Hospital to improve the visitor and tourist experience
  • Win-win for students involved in community and new ideas for the Koala Hospital

Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) students have used their course assessment tasks to improve the visitor experience at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

As part of their final assessments, the 17 second- and third-year students studying the Bachelor of Applied Science (Outdoor Recreation and Ecotourism) in the Charles Sturt School of Environmental Sciences in Port Macquarie proposed new designs to improve the visitor and tourist experience at the Koala Hospital.

Associate Professor in Interpretation and Ecotourism, Rosemary Black, a lecturer and researcher in the School of Environmental Sciences in Port Macquarie, facilitated the cooperation with the Koala Hospital.

Professor Black said, “The engagement with the Koala Hospital is mutually beneficial.

“Our students learn while they get involved in the community and the Koala Hospital receives new ideas to further enhance the visitor experience and their facilities.

“The students submitted their proposals for the Koala Hospital to use to develop the facilities at the hospital further, which in turn will bring more tourism to the hospital and to the wider Port Macquarie community.

“Students also submitted assessments focusing on environmental education and how to convey messages about koala conservation, which the Koala Hospital can also use for their conservation strategy.”

Charles Sturt Director of External Engagement (Port Macquarie) Ms Kate Wood-Foye said, “Charles Sturt University loves working with such a well-known local organisation that not only helps many endangered koalas, but brings so many visitors to our community.

“This student assessment exercise is a good example of how the University can inspire our students and provide insights and positive impacts in our communities.”

Second-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Outdoor Recreation and Ecotourism) student Ms Kylie Neilson said of her experience, “The interpretive plan I completed for my assessment on the Koala Hospital not only broadened my understanding of the numerous threats facing koala species and their desperate need for assistance, but also increased my appreciation for the phenomenal work the Koala Hospital and the Koala Preservation Society do.

“When designing my plan and interpretive media, the dedication I witnessed and observations I made at the hospital never ceased to amaze me.

“Their efforts and work are incredibly admirable, and it would be an absolute pleasure to work with this organisation in the future.”

Third-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Outdoor Recreation and Ecotourism) student Ms Lacey Cornall said, “The outdoor recreation design project with the Koala Hospital was a very valuable educational experience.

“I enjoyed learning the content in class and then the challenge of taking what I had learnt to produce a concept plan that met the set requirements.

“It feels good to have been able to work on a project that is actually going to be undertaken, as opposed to a design for something that doesn’t exist or isn’t considering redevelopment.”

Professor Black recently spoke about ‘Communicating Koala Conservation Messages’ at the Second Caring for our Koalas and our Environment Symposium that was held on Thursday 6 June at the UNSW Rural Clinical School in Port Macquarie.


Media contact:

Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with the students or Ms Kate Wood-Foye contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or news@csu.edu.au

Associate Professor Rosemary Black is a member of the Charles Sturt Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) and is currently embarked on environmental research in Norway and Iceland at the University of the Artic until December.

Photo: Second-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Outdoor Recreation and Ecotourism) student Ms Kylie Neilson at The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

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Port Macquarie Research ILWS Science