Aug 2, 2023 | Grant Stories, News

Drake, NSW (Bundjalung Country)

Clare Urquhart knows only too well that small animals and birds, as well as human beings, need a place to call home. With support from Highways and Byways and the local community, dozens of wildlife nesting boxes have been built and installed in the area around Drake in NSW. She hopes the nesting boxes will create a refuge for wildlife that lost habitat during the 2019-20 bushfires that hit the Drake area and destroyed many houses and surrounding bushlands.

The Tiny Homes for Wildlife project is run by Clare’s organisation, Container of Dreams, which works to provide tiny homes to people affected by disasters, including the recent NSW floods. This year the organisation’s focus also included homes for wildlife including Brushtail possums, Sugar Gliders, microbats, owls, Black Cockatoos and King Parrots.

“The area around here was hit very hard by the 2019 bushfires and it destroyed the habitat for so much wildlife. It could be 30 years before even some of it is restored. The trees and hollow logs provided a home for wildlife and now that is gone. Those trees don’t grow overnight,” Clare said.

Locals built about 40 nesting boxes at the workshops, which were held over three weeks. The boxes differed according to the wildlife they hoped to attract. Apart from playing a crucial role in the protection of wildlife in the area, Clare said the workshops were also a healing experience for participants.

“It’s really important that people, who have lost so much, feel they are doing something positive that will improve their environment, the place where they are living,” Clare said.

“The people at the workshop might not have all known each other, but they all share something very important and that is loss. So this shared common experience helps alleviate social isolation and people develop connections.”

Clare said the workshops were so popular another one has since been held with help from volunteers and a local ‘handyman’. “One important outcome from building the nesting boxes is that sense of hope for the future by working on healing themselves and the land they are living on. I think this will become a regular event for us.”

IMAGES: Main, Left to Right: John Raymond, Graeme Lightbody, Amanda Hartley and Cass Purdon with some of the completed nesting boxes.


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