Monday, February 10, 2020

Older Adults Knit, Sew, and Build to Help Australia’s Wildlife After Fires



Wild animals injured in the infernos that have devastated parts of Australia are getting help from older adults around the world.


Recent bushfires in Australia have been devastating to wildlife, killing at least 24 people and an estimated one billion animals as they raged across 12.35 million acres. The island continent of Australia is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world. Koala, kangaroo, wombat, bird and bat populations have been decimated. Some animals managed to escape the blazes, but with burn injuries. Older adults have come to their aid in a big way.

Global Effort


People from all over the world have sent in woolen paw covers, pouches, wraps and even nests to assist the animals in their recovery. Young animals that have lost their parents include many, such as possums, kangaroos, bandicoots, wallabies and gliders, which normally spend their youth in a mother’s pouch. They find comfort and a feeling of safety in handmade pouches.

Older adults often provide the knitting and sewing skills necessary for these projects. Many grandmothers and grandfathers have taken the lead to teach family members skills to enable all age groups to contribute to the cause. Their talent with needle and thread, or needles and yarn, have new meaning as people worldwide search for ways to help. Woodworkers play a role, too, as they have powered up saws to build possum boxes and transporters.

Iconic Animals Affected


Koalas, which live peacefully in gum tree forests, may have been rendered “functionally extinct” by the blazes. Many survivors have burned paws requiring mittens for comfort. Bird populations also suffered tremendous damage in the fires. Crocheted nests have arrived from around the globe to help survivors.

A group named the Animal Rescue Craft Guild has formed to offer tips and advice for the crafters, as well as providing approved patterns to make sure that donated items will be useful. The group has swelled its ranks by 100,000 members in recent weeks. The Animal Rescue Collective is the source for handymen building possum boxes and other wooden items. The Animal Rescue MacGyver Makers Guild is another craft making group assisting animals from wombats to wallabies.

How To Help


Older adults who would like to help Australian wildlife can contact one of the groups listed above. Another way to assist is to donate to the World Wildlife Foundation. The iconic organization has set up an Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.

Older adults have seen their share of tragedy, and often have needed skill-sets to assist with recovery. This has certainly been the case during the horrific wildfires in Australia. Having the know-how and experience to craft needed items has given some older adults a sense of purpose amid the disaster, and earned admiration from younger generations.


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Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors