Mark Selmes

Landcarer, conservationist and activist (also known as Cranky Koala)

Mark has been active in a wide range of environmental activities. For many years he was a wildlife carer with WIRES and a number of his fosterlings continue to live in bushland near his home and come to visit him. However, Mark looks beyond the individual creature to see that the only hope for the animals is habitat protection. As well as setting aside his own property for conservation, Mark has passionately involved himself in work beyond his own front gate to support other individuals and organisations that are working to protect the land, forests, water, air, flora and fauna.

Mark is a member of Roslyn Landcare Group, and Goulburn Field Naturalists. He has served on the Executive of the NSW Nature Conservation Council. He is involved with the Wilderness Society and has organised local information sessions with the Environmental Defenders Office.

He regularly supports many local tree plantings organised by various Landcare groups in conjunction with local schools. He is experienced in plant ID and a knowledgeable expert on orchids.

He talks to school children at environmental events, often in the guise of one of the Giant Marsupials from the Mt. Rae Forest. Cranky Koala and Pesky Possum, and their friends capture the imagination and attention of the children. With Cranky, Mark has travelled across the State to support events organised by a range of environmental groups – at his own expense.

To raise the awareness of the general public, Mark regularly contributes items to the local newspapers. He even undertook a hunger strike outside State Parliament House in the hope of drawing attention to the devastating impact of the Private Native Forest Code of Practice on habitat values and threatened animals. Mark has invested great effort in reading and understanding Government environment legislation and making numerous submissions.

Mark feels strongly about Landcare ethics, the importance of reaching out to the community, educating kids for a better future, the importance of biodiversity and our unique wildlife, and the need to protect the remnants and mature trees we have now - not just plant seedlings. Being actively involved in private land conservation, despite poor legislation that undermines his efforts, and volunteering in the wider environmental movement dominate his life.

Here is a short video about Mark