Help for Australia’s koalas

Felicity L. Kostakis, an Old Greenwich artist, is using her art and her fundraising skills to aid her native Australia, in particular some furry creatures devastated by that country’s recent wildfires.

We interviewed Old Greenwich painter Felicity L. Kostakis – a woman as passionate about kindness as she is about art and the Bruce Museum – at the end of last year for the cover of February WAG, before the devastating wildfires hit her native Australia – and her heart. But this strong-minded Aussie is fighting back.

“I have been in regular contact with an amazing animal hospital in New South Wales called The Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie,” she wrote us in a recent email. “When I last spoke to them, they had more than 50 injured koalas and some are in critical condition. They are expecting more koalas each day due to the bushfires along the south coast of New South Wales and Victoria that are still creating havoc in the area. The scale of these fires is unprecedented.

“Some animals, like koalas and kangaroos, are primarily killed directly by the fires. They are being incinerated in flames or choking on smoke. Nearly a third of all koalas in New South Wales have died and about a third of their habitat has been destroyed. 

“I am actively raising funds for this koala hospital. It is a nonprofit organization and all the funds will go to treat these beloved treasures that have nowhere to run. This animal hospital is also planning to build the very first koala breeding facility to make sure that wild koalas never become extinct. Eventually, these koalas will be released into Australia’s protected forests.

“Here in Connecticut, I am continuing to teach children art but with an ‘Australiana’ theme. The kids are learning about these unique Aussie critters (koalas, wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and more) as well as the value of giving back while creating their own masterpieces. My hope is that the children will produce art and write a heartfelt message to the incredible veterinarians and selfless volunteers. I will send all the artwork, letters and another check to the koala hospital, showing our appreciation for all their hard work.”

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