♥ ♥ ♥ Today's Awesome Woman is Deborah Tabart (1953 - ) She is the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Koala Foundation, also known as the Koala Woman :) For 20 years, the foundation’s mantra has been: No tree. No me.
The AKF works to provide maps and management tools to help people look after the koalas in their back yards and help governments and planners create forward thinking strategies to protect koala habitats.
She has spent the last 22 years fighting for Australia’s endangered koala population, contending with governments, developers, multi-national corporations, communities, media, conservationists, other NGOs and scientists.
Deborah’s campaigning in the USA saw the United States Government Fish and Wildlife Service Department list the koala as a vulnerable species in 2000, a significant win in her journey to date.
In 2008, Deborah was honoured for her lifelong commitment to the koala when awarded an Order of Australia Medal, but her most notable achievement to date has been funding and leading the AKF’s $8 million worth of koala research. The research has produced the most extensive wildlife and habitat maps in the world and are so highly regarded that Deborah was awarded the Computerworld Smithsonian Medal for them in 1998.
Deborah is also the recipient of the 2011 ABC EXCEL Award. She is the first Australian, first CEO of a Not-for-Profit organisation and first woman to win this prestigious communication award.
Deborah hopes to see all koala habitats mapped, the enactment of The National Koala Act and the establishment of koala conservation zones where people live with respect and understanding for koalas and other wildlife.
“The koala to me represents all that is beautiful about my country Australia. In my time as the koala woman I have watched the cruelty that has been perpetrated on this beautiful creature and this stirs in me a great sense of injustice and that is what drives me. As I go out into the world to fight for the koala, I am always humbled by everything it represents. You see, as champion of the koala, I am not only seeking to protect it, but also my home, my country, and its wonderful people. Because, No Tree. No Me. We need to protect what we have or there will be dire consequences.”