Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Community stories eNews: 25 September 2023
Boonah and District Landcare Association has taken up the challenge to develop a home-grown housing solution for Mount Barney’s greater gliders housing crisis created by the Black Summer bushfires that swept through local bushlands in 2019-20.
Greater gliders live in tree hollows and like to move around a little, so one glider needs multiple tree hollows to hide, sleep and raise a family. There is no fast solution for gliders affected by the Black Summer fires. Many nests were destroyed, and it can take a hundred years for forest trees to age and develop suitable hollows.
Artificial nest boxes made using standard plywood construction are not suitable for the greater gliders, who are easily stressed by heat. The innovative Landcare nest tubes are lined and painted white with a high-tech reflective paint for additional heat control.
Project Coordinator Ian Beale explains, “It’s been a huge effort to design something durable, affordable, and easy to install. We’ve had advice and feedback from experts at southern universities and we engaged a scientist from the University of Wollongong to oversee installation of nest tubes at Bartopia. We are serious about evaluating this new design.
“It was a community project supported by grant funds and volunteer efforts. A real team effort, and so many locals have been involved”, he said.
Scenic Rim Regional Council provided funds for construction materials. Volunteers from Boonah and District Landcare, Carinity Fassifern Community Centre and Maroon State School help build the tubes. The Wettenhall Foundation supported a small number of local climbers to gain the qualifications and insurance they need to help landowners with installations, while a $24,014 Strengthening Rural Communities Prepare and Recover grant funded by Global Giving contributed to the survey work and installation of nest tubes, as well as technology and expertise to evaluate how they are used over the next 12 months.
Twenty-three tubes were installed in March 2023 around Bartopia Nature Refuge adjacent to Mount Barney National Park. Clients of the Fassifern Community Centre visited Mt Barney to observe a nest installation, and students later watched a demonstration installation at Maroon State School.
The SRC grant also supported teachers, parents and students to camp overnight at Mt Barney and enjoy a spotlighting opportunity, for the children to see personally the greater and other gliders in their natural habitat (much to their delight).
The only significant thing left is for the scientist-arborists to return next February-March to monitor the installed nests and cameras.