A TRAIL of metre high koalas in highly visible locations across the Hastings, Camden Haven and hinterland will represent the amazing creativity of many local artists and showcase the community champions which have sponsored them.
Mac the Surf Life Saving koala was recently unveiled by sponsors Brett and Jacqui Jones of McDonald's restaurants Port Macquarie at the home of artist Pauline Roods.
The couple has sponsored the Port Macquarie Surf Lifesaving Club for five years, so it was a natural extension to come on board as a community champion of the Hello Koala Public Sculpture Project.
It was even more appropriate when artist Pauline Roods submitted a design depicting a koala dressed in a lifesaver's uniform to the project's creator at Arts & Health Australia.
"When the surf life saving design was presented to us, we instantly loved it, Mr Jones said.
He believes the trail will promote our region, generate business and economic interest in the area, tourism and the profile of one of Australia's most iconic animals.
"We feel sure he will attract a lot of attention with the public. Pauline has done a fabulous job on our koala and is to be congratulated on the finished product."
Roods is a former lifesaver and chose the design because of the significance of the job done by all the clubs and each summer.
"They are the unsung heroes. I wanted the tourist to be aware of water safety."
Vice president of the club Kim Rayner will also develop a community surf education program in conjunction with the nippers and the koala trail.
Executive director Arts and Health Australia Margret Meagher said the organisation is dedicated to advocating the use of the arts and creativity to enhance health and wellbeing.
"Public art is one of the most effective ways to engage members of a community, from childhood to older age and from diverse backgrounds, and encourage interaction, participation and contribution within a community," she said.
The trail opens on September 8 when 50 koalas will dot the landscape from the Pacific Ocean and Hastings River to the hinterland of Wauchope and the national parks and waters of the Camden Haven.