Community crowdfunding initiative to protect forests takes off

Jonathan Cassell, Kevin Doye and Lowanna Doye.

A GRASSROOTS crowdfunding initiative to protect native forests has taken off, reaching $10,000 in four weeks.

Started by Jonathan Cassell, a City of Coffs Harbour Councillor, the fund has received immediate widespread community support.

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The crowdfunding enterprise, known as the ‘Future Forest Fund’, began with the funding of the recent Festival for Forests held in Nambucca Heads on 4 November.

Mr Cassell said he believes the crowdfunding campaign has offered an opportunity to be involved for many people who wish to see native forests protected, but didn’t know where to start.

“I started this Future Forest Fund after someone at the Bob Brown Foundation rally in August asked if there was a future fund they could make a donation,” Mr Cassell said.

“This prompted me to set up the Future Forest Fund with an initial goal of $25,000.

“I have been blown away with the support so far and am very grateful to all who have contributed.”

Mr Cassell set up the fund under the banner of PAN Media, and he wants it to share positive messages about forests and support people who care deeply about them and their future by offering them a way to financially contribute.

“The recent Festival for Forests in Nambucca was a huge success because local businesses and individuals got behind this Fund and helped pay-it-forward so the event could be fully funded,” he said.

Kombu Wholefoods in Bellingen are one local business who have supported the fund.

“We are lucky enough to live in a stunning part of the world, where beautiful forest drops from our mountains into our valleys, and then on towards the ocean,” Kombu Wholefoods owner Lowanna Doye said.

“We believe we need to do all we can to protect this unique region for future generations.”

Kevin Doye, who co-owns the shop, highlighted the benefits he sees from the development of a Great Koala National Park.

“The Great Koala National Park will offer significant employment and other social and environmental benefits to our community, so it gives us great pleasure to be able to support this fantastic campaign.”

Mr Cassell’s future plans include a marketing campaign targeting billboards and social media advertisements and a professionally produced short film documentary linking healthy forests to a healthy society.

More information about the Future Forest Fund can be found at

By Andrew VIVIAN

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