Helping wildlife recover from bushfire havoc


As the world watched in terror as the devastating bushfires of 2019/20 blazed through the country, local communities who were lucky enough to escape the fires still felt the moral and neighbourly urge to help in some way. Thanks to projects like Nightcap, people in the Northern Rivers  had the opportunity to do just that and reach out to connect with those in need. The uniqueness of the Nightcap Range area (in NSW‘s top biodiversity hotspot), with its various and unique flora and fauna makes this project even more critical, and we are so proud of the huge efforts made by staff and all communities involved.


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“The girls made it so easy ⎻ we had a wonderful time.”

Jan, Rock Valley Volunteer


What CVA did (in just 12 months): Tangible outcomes

  • 4000 mixed endemic species planted
  • Critical habitat for flora and fauna restored after 2019/20 bushfires
  • 10 community capacity building events over two sites near bushfire-affected Night Cap range in NSW
  • Local communities engaged in volunteering events at scale
  • 16 Nestboxes constructed and installed
  • 4 Ha of invasive weeds under control
  • Collection and propagation of native plant species for revegetation
  • Fencing installed to protect sensitive areas of new growth


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What CVA did: Social outcomes

  • Increased community collaboration
  • Raised community awareness of bushfire recovery actions
  • Empowered community
  • Increased community resilience
  • Forged deeper, long-lasting community ties to nature
  • Alleviated the sense of helplessness that many felt after the fires


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What if CVA hadn’t done any of this?

  • Without these nestboxes, many animals would be without home following mass loss of tree hollows
  • Without the restoration of habitat, it would be more vulnerable to future natural disaster



The highs

Without a doubt the best part of this project was the opportunity to work with local groups such as Grass Roots Georgica, Friends of the Koala, Whian Whian Landcare, Jiggi Landcare and 46 locals from the wider community. 

Besides strengthening habitat and creating a more resilient ecosystem this project was a chance for the community to come together over a shared passion, debrief, talk to each other and seek information from experts about their experience with bushfires and natural disasters. Stakeholders also had the opportunity to network and create further partnerships and opportunities to benefit wildlife, themselves and the region. 

A brilliant effort from everyone and the benefits to both society and the environment, we are sure, are long-lasting and exponential.


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“Lots of useful information presented in a very clear and organised day ⎻ really enjoyed it.”


Arthur, Rock Valley Volunteer  


The challenges, and how we overcame them

We had huge challenges delivering this project with the February floods and landslip events in the region. Many of our events were scheduled and cancelled and then scheduled and cancelled again. One site at Rock Valley had very limited access right up until the end of the project but we managed to find a window to get our habitat trees in the ground. With persistence, patience and resilience, these challenges could not stand in our way.


Nick carrying out a hollow hog demonstration, where we drill into particular spots in the tree to make hollows for wildlife


The Unexpected

While this was a bushfire recovery project in some aspects it also morphed into a flood and landslip recovery project. Many of our events were held after the most recent disaster and so became spaces for the community to come together.


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Key takeaways for nature, and community


“Climate change and more frequent natural disasters require flexibility with planning project activities and need you to be ready for anything. We must also be very considerate of landholders and the high emotions involved at this difficult time. As to the planned project outcomes, it was beneficial to the Nightcap region as well as to native flora and fauna, and, in short, we all felt amazing helping to create a more sustainable and resilient environment.


Kelly Saunderson, Project Coordinator, Wild Futures

Wild Futures