17 April 2020
Welcome to the latest newsletter about the environmental volunteering response for bushfire recovery.
Since our last newsletter, COVID-19 has certainly become the new normal. For many of us around the country, restriction of movement is in place to slow the spread and enable health services to continue to provide care and avoid overwhelm. Our thoughts are with all people affected by coronavirus, and we offer our deep thanks to all those on the front line of the fight.
After several weeks of these restrictions, we’ve heard all sorts of stories of people slowing down and tuning in to their backyards, the places they see during their daily exercise. We’re seeing creative responses to keep people connected to nature – vital to maintain our wellbeing.
We also know that whilst the bushfires may no longer be front page news, the work that’s needed to support the recovery hasn’t gone away. So this newsletter is focused on what we can all do from home, and whilst out and about for exercise, to keep working towards environmental bushfire recovery, and build toward future action together.
In the last newsletter we shared a timeline for volunteer referrals, which is now obviously not going to be possible due to COVID-19.
Given the goal right now is to slow the spread of Coronavirus, we have made the call that advertising in-person group volunteering activities will be suspended for the foreseeable future, until the pandemic has receded.
If you had signed up for one of the events from a previous newsletter you should be hearing from the teams in charge about that postponement shortly.
Citizen Science opportunity – whilst out on your daily walk, why not photograph regrowth, animals and insects returning in bushfire zones (which have been declared safe) to contribute to research by UNSW and the Centre for Ecosystem Science – https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/citizen-scientists-get-snappy-monitor-bushfire-ravaged-environment
Get involved in Birdlife Australia’s Autumn Bird Survey until the end of April – you can record the birds visiting your garden over a 20 min period. This data can be used to assess bird habitat preferences and trends in bird abundance and distribution. The habitat data aids the identification of green corridors available in private spaces – https://www.birdsinbackyards.net/content/article/Autumn-Birds-Backyards-Survey
Trying to keep the kids happy? Here’s some excellent resources and exercises to help you keep the entertained inside and out:
Inside Activities from Birdlife Australia – http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/content/article/Keep-your-kids-chirpy-home-these-activities
Build Wildlife Habitat in your garden with Backyard Buddies’ designs – https://www.backyardbuddies.org.au/create-habitats/home-diy-projects
Stories of Recovery
This is a round-up of some of the stories of wildlife and habitat recovery from around the country.
The Wildlife Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel identified 119 animals in need of help – here’s how you can get involved – https://conservationvolunteers.com.au/news/2020/04/119-animals-need-urgent-help-because-of-the-bushfires/
Fungi are leading the recovery in some areas – read the article from ecological researchers at The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/how-fungis-knack-for-networking-boosts-ecological-recovery-after-bushfires-132587
Vicky, a koala that survived the fires, has been released to Phillip Island, to start her rehabilitation thanks to Zoos Victoria. See the video at: https://twitter.com/ZoosVictoria/status/1245968077834956801
Recovery on French Island – a photo essay looking at recovery on the island in Western Port Bay in Victoria after this year’s fires. See it here: https://cva.exposure.co/recovery-on-french-island
These are curated notices about the environmental recovery work which may be useful to you or someone you know.
Healing Our Land grants from FNPW made in NSW & SA for bushfire projects. Read more about receipient projects at: https://www.fnpw.org.au/news-and-events/healing-our-land-bushfire-recovery-grants-awarded
Landcare have given out over $300k in grants for bushfire related projects. You can find out more here: https://landcareaustralia.org.au/2020-bushfire-recovery-grants/
Know someone who is struggling after the fires? It’s absolutely normal, and there are some things we can all do to support their wellbeing. Find out more here: https://5waystowellbeing.org.au/
Many thanks again for tuning in and for wanting to help in the environmental response to the bushfires.
We hope you’re able to get into the bush and breathe during the COVID-19 era. And don’t forget, we’re in this together.
In your service,
Sam and the Conservation Volunteers Bushfire Recovery Team
Conservation Volunteers is the national coordinator for the environmental volunteering response to the bushfires – https://conservationvolunteers.com.au/bushfires
Check our FAQ about the recovery work, or contact us if you want to ask us questions or have ideas which aren’t addressed – https://conservationvolunteers.com.au/bushfires/bushfire-recovery-faq