As of February 2022, populations of the cuddly and iconic koala were officially listed as endangered in NSW and Queensland by the Department of Climate Change, Engergy, the Environment and Water
From the bushfires of 2019 to forest logging, the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) reports koala habitats are being decimated and entire koala families wiped out, resulting in the koala population rapidly plummeting.
Moved by the distressing plight of these cherished creatures, Dulcie Ryan, 80, Warialda, felt compelled to take action and created the Koala Quilt - a stunning artwork to support conservation efforts.
Ms Ryan has been shocked at the dire situation of the koala and encourages koala lovers to unite and make a difference.
"I've always loved Australian animals, and in my part of the world, you only have to look outside to spot them," she said.
"But I learned koalas were at risk, and I wanted to do my part to help them.
"Creating a quilt was the best way I could contribute."
Trusting her instincts in selecting the appropriate colours to feature in the quilt, which is covered in hues of greys, pinks, and greens, Ms Ryan said the key patchwork imagery of various koalas was designed to highlight the animal's distinct personalities.
"Like you and me, each koala has unique qualities and their own life stories," she said.
"Hopefully, people see that in the quilt and remember the koalas are worth saving, and their stories are worth telling."
AKF chair Deborah Tabart said the Koala Quilt was "truly a labour of love", taking Ms Ryan a week of "ceaseless sewing, peddling, and patching to finish".
Ms Ryan initially intended to donate the quilt to be raffled to raise money for koala populations in the aftermath of the NSW bush fires of 2019-20, however, ended up giving it to the AKF for fundraising.
Ms Tabart said the quilt was more than just a donation.
"Art has the incredible ability to convey emotions and messages that words sometimes fail to express," she said.
"The Koala Quilt has become a focal point for raising awareness and is already igniting conversations about the urgent need to help the Koala."
Ms Tabart said it was even more special given Ms Ryan was a Warialda local, and we have such significant ties to the land there.
"We've recently moved our Save the Koala shop to Warialda as it's home to primary koala habitat," she said.
"By participating in the raffle, people not only had the chance to own a truly unique piece of art, but also contribute directly to the preservation of the koala habitats and their future," Ms Tabart said.
The online raffle opened on Monday, October 16, and sold out within 24 hours. The winner will be announced on Thursday, October 19.
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