Like much of Southern and Eastern Australia, the Southern Highlands saw two infernos ravage our communities and pristine bushland during the Black Summer season of 2020. Tragically, lives were lost; homes, outbuildings and habitats were destroyed, and vast wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, wombats and wallabies either perished or struggled to survive in the aftermath.
Despite the travesties, people across Australia and around the globe responded in many extraordinary ways.
Our team member, Jennifer Campbell went into action by organising and collecting daily fresh produce together with other essential field items. Working with the management from Woolworths and Harris Farm in Bowral, Jennifer and her friend, Olga Hromow, established morning and evening food stations for five weeks near drought-ravaged paddocks and along the smouldering bush tracks that traced reserves and state parks.
They also searched the forests, looking for any sign of life. What they saw in some parts was a scene of total devastation.
The infernos in Werai State Forest were so intense that no form of life could remain standing in the aftermath; to the point where the blazes threatened the very existence of numerous species. Yet, the eerie silence was even more profound than the sight of the still-smouldering ground. No matter which direction I went, I was staring into the face of a ghost forest. JC
View Werai State Forest in the aftermath of the fires.
Woolworths Bowral additionally provided us with feed containers, bottles of water and water bowls, pillowcases, gloves, blankets, a medical kit and feather dusters [in the event of finding injured birds]. Other generous community supporters sent us bat wraps, knitted pouches for joeys and myriad first aid supplies.
There was no stockpiling. Everything was utilised with swiftness and precision in the field and at our sanctuary.
We also sent several large boxes of fruit to the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic in Bomaderry for the hundreds of bats that were in rehabilitation. And there was never a shortage of field rescue callouts in conjunction with other wildlife rescue operators.
Thank you to everyone for your community spirit, care and dedication; and especially to Woolworths, Harris Farm and the girls.
Woody and Kerstin.
NOTE TO THE COMMUNITY | Please view this important link for further information on feeding wildlife.