MNSU students can help Australian wildfire victims

Lidia Vassar
Staff Writer

I’m sure the bushfires that are occurring in Australia have been on everyone’s mind recently. The sheer range of the destruction is just insane, and more than I think most can comprehend.

My social media feeds have been full of injured animals and destroyed properties, and it gets to be a lot to handle even for someone who is completely displaced from the fires’ effects. However, I was able to find several Facebook groups that provide guidance for how people like me can help.

Animal Rescue Craft Guild is a Facebook group that I’ve been using to stay updated on the animal rescue efforts. They post multiple times a day, giving both hope and calls to action regarding the needs of the animals and rescuers in Australia. I’ve seen countless photos of kangaroos with bandaged legs and tails, and scorched koalas missing hair. There are swaddled bats and birds curled up in crocheted nests. Baby joeys snuggled into donated pouches of different sizes. And at the top of the page there are patterns for sewing and crocheting these pouches and nests.

A huge number of crafty people from all over the world have been using these patterns to create standardized beds and comfort items for these animals in need. The group keeps an updated list of what items have the highest need. For a while they were shortest on the larger pouches and bat swaddles, but it looks like they’ve been receiving so many donations of crafted items that the demand has decreased significantly.

There’s something very sad but also optimistic about watching videos of koalas walking around in mittens to help their burnt feet, and seeing a rescuer gently nudge bats suffering from high heats from trees using a paint roller and cuddly little body pillows for them to hold on to.

If you’re not a particularly crafty person, or you just don’t have the supplies needed, there’s always the option to donate directly to one of the many rescue operations going on in Australia right now. Animals are not the only ones in need. Many, many people are also suffering, and the environment has clearly taken a massive hit, so anything you do will be appreciated. For me personally, as someone who enjoys sewing and crocheting, I feel most drawn towards doing what I can in that way.

Environmental crises will never stop occurring, as there’s only so much we can do to predict and employ preventative measures for them. Hopefully people and communities will continue to put time and energy into helping in these terrible situations, and take to heart the consequences of some of our actions. More importantly, the actions of those who are less compassionate, and the entities that currently have nothing to lose by damaging the environment. 

While it can feel very discouraging to see just how many people, animals, and environments are in desperate need, finding small ways to help (like in the case of the Animal Rescue Craft Guild) can make enormous differences.

Header photo: Grey-headed Flying Fox bats prepare for a feeding at the Uralla, Australia, home of Maisey, a volunteer with Northern Tableands Wildlife Carers. The bats are swaddled in flannel wraps similar to those being made by thousands of crafters worldwide who are using their sewing, knitting and crocheting skills to make items for wildlife injured in the Australian brush fires. Some animal rescue groups, however, say monetary donations are needed more. (Jackie Maisey via AP)

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