The Lurg Hills had a massive ironbark forest there, and those trees were really valuable for hard wood, so the trees were chopped down and there were 12 saw mills. So many were chopped down, there are not many trees left with hollows, and the animals that need holes have nowhere to live. Without hollows they can’t have babies so it’s really simple – we need to act. So we’ve worked with the local primary schools and built over 400 nests boxes and gradually put those up over the last eight years and we have found tremendous results.
We’ve got Squirrel Gliders living in 75 percent of the boxes and sometimes we find little babies. We deliberately make boxes for the really rare animals because the common ones, they’re big enough to look after themselves. So Squirrel Gliders, Brush-tailed Phascogales – they are starting to use our boxes in a big way, it’s really important. Checking our nest boxes each year in autumn with lots of volunteers from universities and bush walking clubs, I’ve seen many faces whether it’s a kid of my age or a kid of four years old and they all smile when they see their first glider, only half a metre from their nose; it’s wonderful.
We find how many animals have shifted in and how many babies there are. Sometimes we find the juveniles from last year moving out of mum and dad’s territory to start a family on their own and that’s exciting news when we find that. Sometimes we also find that animals have managed to move all the way through planted areas, hundreds and hundreds of metres because we’ve planted a corridor that they can move through, to reach new territory; that’s exciting news.
My plan has always been that these threatened animals can have a safe home for the future; they are like a barometer that shows us that the health of the land. If they can be resilient and living here permanently, that shows that the land is healthy: that's my aim.