The portrait above is of Beau, or as we call him Bushfire Beau. This poor little fella was orphaned last year during the bushfires.
Beau’s mother protected him from the fire, however, in doing so, the burns she sustained were so severe that she had to be euthanised.
Round The Clock Care
This little orphaned 300 gram brushtail possum needed many months of care by Heidi Cuschieri, a Wildcare Australia Inc. volunteer wildlife carer. At this weight he was given a diet of a rich variety of leaves and blossoms from native plants.
Caring for wildlife, especially if they are very young, can take a lot of time, energy, and heart. Brushtail possums which are between 80 -150 grams, or between 3-4 months old, require 4 hourly milk formula syringe feeds. This can be very taxing when a carer has other obligations such as paid work, a family, and household duties to attend to, all the while with little sleep.
After 4 weeks, little joeys then require 5 hourly feeds for about a fortnight, as the carer encourages the joey to begin lapping milk formula from a bowl. This then becomes 5 hourly milk formula feeds till the joey is about 4.5-5 months old, as they are then introduced to native plant leaves and blossoms, which will form their natural diet in the wild.
It can often be difficult to find suitable fodder in our increasingly urban environment and this is one factor in volunteer burnout as they need to spend more and more time to find suitable food.
A solution to this issue is to create convenient and safe facility for volunteer wildlife carers to harvest a variety of leaves and fodder to feed their animals in care. Beau and other possums and gliders together with the needs of volunteer wildlife carers was the inspiration for The Possum Pantry.
The Possum Pantry
The Possum Pantry at KDV Sport. KDV Sport in collaboration with Koalas On The Green with the help of the local community will over the coming months be planting out the grounds with suitable species to feed sick, injured, and orphaned possums and gliders in care.
In addition, these natural looking plantings will create habitat for local wildlife.
The Possum Posse
On the Sunday morning of the 11th of October 2020, a bunch of passionate volunteers came along to help launch this project at KDV Sport, a sporting facility that includes a 9 hole golf course, driving range, mini put put, and tennis courts.
30 noxious camphor laurel trees were removed a few days before the event. Native trees and shrubs were planted along the 300 metre or so, eastern boundary kicking off this important project.
Organic Approach To Human and Environmental Health
After the inaugural group planting, Andrew Glen, the head groundskeeper, discussed the organic approach he has implemented to maintain the golf course grounds by:
✅ using 100% organic maintenance of the grounds
✅ building up the soil biology
✅ reducing water consumption by an exceptional 50%
✅ reducing weed growth
✅ creating a healthy chemical-free environment for humans and wildlife alike
✅ reducing maintenance and input costs
Education, Awareness, Inspiration, Action
The goal of Koalas On The Green is to creatively connect community with biodiversity.
Some ways to do this is by:
• bringing awareness of the needs of wildlife,
• providing knowledge, education and inspiration
so as individuals, and collectively, we can make a difference in our communities.
A big thank you goes to all the volunteers, who took time out of their Sunday morning to plant trees for the Possum Pantry at KDV Sport. Without the support and action, programs like this will remain in a ‘good idea’ basket.
A massive thank you also goes to Andrew Glen and KDV Sport who without their commitment to the environment and the local community the Possum Pantry would be just a pipe dream.
Appreciation and gratitude also goes to being able to live and thrive in such an incredibly biodiverse part of the world. For this we are truly blessed.