As the fires in eastern Australia are damped down by rain in many areas, the full extent of the losses for people, communities and wildlife are becoming painfully visible. Media reports on the scale of habitat loss are staggering, and many people want to help. At Conservation Volunteers we’ve started our hand-on response to the bushfire crisis with workshops open to volunteers to build nest boxes, create bee hotels and stitch bat-wraps at 7 of our offices.
Nest boxes and other wildlife supporting materials created during the workshops are being delivered to areas where they are most needed to provide habitat havens for wildlife that have lost their homes during the fires. Nest boxes, bee hotels and other human-created habitat supports can support wildlife populations that survived the fires but lost crucial habitat such as tree hollows. If these populations can be supported until their habitat re-grows, the devastating loss of wildlife from the fires can be reduced.
Volunteers taking part in the workshop are building nest boxes for a range of small to medium sized mammals and birds, bee hotels that are actually good for many different types of invertebrates and even making bat-wraps from fabric and yarn, which are used by wildlife carers looking after distressed bats in care.
Our Adelaide office kicked off the nest box building with a workshop in mid-January to support the recovery efforts on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills. At the first workshop 100 nest boxes were constructed by a band of volunteers, followed by a second successful workshop focussing on small mammal nesting boxes.
In Warrnambool, Melbourne, Newcastle and Ballina volunteers have been rolling up their sleeves and have created a huge number of nest boxes suitable for a range of wildlife from parrots to possums, gliders and microbats, and constructing insect hotels to support invertebrate populations including the all-important pollinator species. The nest boxes and insect hotels constructed at each workshop will be sent to our partner organisations working in the field to protect and restore habitats in the fire grounds.
In Townsville the volunteers took a crafty approach to supporting wildlife, sewing, knitting and crocheting animal pouches, bags and wraps – bat-wraps! – that will be sent to wildlife groups around the country who are caring for injured and displaced animals.
These workshops are just the beginning of our response to the bushfire crisis, and we would love to have you join us.
More workshops are planned for the coming weeks. To register to get regular updates about nest box building workshops and other volunteering opportunities, register with us.
For groups needing support with their recovery efforts, we encourage you to get in touch with us.
We are grateful for the support we have received from our Corporate Partners Boral and Pernod Ricard Winemakers, and our Community Partner, Foundation For National Parks and Wildlife, who are supporting our bushfire recovery efforts.
Their support and expertise have allowed us to organise recovery events across the country and engage with communities through environmental regeneration and wildlife assistance activities.