FOLKLAW - stands for Friends of Local Koalas, Land & Wildlife and was formed in September 1995 after a public meeting was organised by concerned members of the community to help save and protect our local wildlife in particular the Koala.
FOLKLAW is no different from any other community group which are usually formed for all the same reasons - concerns on destruction of habitat. We are not unique but enthusiastic and proud of what we have achieved over the past 13 years.
Our involvement with the Australian Koala Foundation commenced before the group started when the local primary schools (Somers and Balnarring) celebrated "Save Koala Day" in 1995. This was the day the Mornington Peninsula Shire's Conservation Manager publicized their commitment towards implementing their Conservation Strategy.
Other areas that FOLKLAW has focused on are - assisting wildlife carers by building compounds, treatment rooms and possum boxes, the maintenance of the Somers Koala Reserve, Education & Public Awareness Projects and talking to other community groups. Quarterly Newsletters, Tree Planting, Plant Propagation, donation of hundreds of indigenious plants, tool and equipment lending to other groups and the opening and maintenance of a Koala Information Shelter at Balnarring, providing the general public with information and where to seek help if injured koalas are found.
At the opposite end of Somers is the Coolart Homestead and Wetlands which is managed by Parks Victoria making the Somers township a wildlife corridor yet the area is becoming more urbanised.
Koalas in this region were originally translocated from French Island in 1972. The Navy together with DSE have been removing koalas since 1985. Obviously the lack of food trees within the Navy Base have forced some of the koalas into Somers/Balnarring/Merricks areas causing undue pressures on the koalas like cars and dogs.
This is one reason why FOLKLAW decided to try and take some action. The group has been involved in tree plantings at HMAS Cerberus and at the Koala Reserve in Somers which the Shire together with FOLKLAW collaborated to form a Management Plan which enables FOLKLAW to manage the Reserve.
FOLKLAW also plants out other areas of Somers such as the Ray Stone Reserve,Kennedy Rd park and Kennedy Rd track in an attempt to restore the wildlife corridors that connect the Cerberus property with Balnarring. We have donated several thousand indigenous plants to other groups with Somers such as the Lord Somers Camp, Education Camp and two Somers Foreshore groups.
Supporting our local wildlife carers is an area we are also concerned in. At present we have one Koala carer who gets very little support or financial assistance towards this very valuable service she provides on a voluntarily basis. Fund raising is a way FOLKLAW assists as well as giving voluntary time although it is probably not enough.