Most Northern Rivers locals were devastated to watch the decimation of native wildlife during the Black Summer bushfires late last year.
A local organisation, Brunswick Valley Landcare (BVL), felt the same, and have begun the fight for rebuilding habitat through the installation of nesting boxes, made by Mullumbimby local, David Brook from Wildbnb.
303 different species of native Australian animals rely on tree hollows for nesting, which, even prior to the Black Summer fires were a rarity, as they take a minimum of 75 years to form, and the bushfires of last summer destroyed a huge percentage of the remaining critical habitat that had already been decimated by land clearing.
BVL decided they were going to step in. So in 2014, they started their Nestbox Project, and have since installed over 40 boxes on both public and private land across the Northern Rivers, but they are after more.
BVL president, Peter Ryan, said ‘We have lost so many habitat trees, and we need a lot of boxes to replace that loss. We are hoping for lots of donations, to fund upwards of a hundred nesting boxes to be installed on both public and private land, so that the boxes can have a positive impact on wildlife’.
The nesting boxes are not currently funded by the government, and so BVL is calling on landowners and community members to help turn around habitat loss and save our native animals.
The community can help out by donating towards the purchase and installation of a nest box on your property, planting suitable native trees and plants on your land or building your own nest box (www.wires.org.au have free instructions).
‘If habitat is not replaced, we lose biodiversity in the region, and if we lose that, I think we lose our soul. The loss isn’t just to the environment, but economic as well; native wildlife is the best pest control out there, and losing them will have quite an impact on the agricultural industry.’
To help take the project to the next level, BVL teamed up with local artist Sam Wortlehock to decorate a nesting box which was kindly donated by David Brook from Wildbnb, which was built larger than most nesting boxes to comfortably accommodate owls.
Mr Ryan said, ‘The aim of the painted boxes is to raise some awareness of the different species of wildlife that use the nesting boxes through usable art’.
Ms Wortlehock from Breakaway Art painted the box with a beautiful scene of three species of native owls found in the Byron region in the night time; the Rufous, Sooty and Barn.
BVL will install the box properly on the buyer’s property, free of charge, to ensure it is put in a place that will be useful to wildlife.
To find out more about the project, head to www.brunswickvalleylandcare.org.au, or if you are interested in purchasing a box of your own, visit www.wildbnb.com.au.
Adel Pheloung is doing year 10 work experience with The Echo.