TAFE students build shelters for injured wildlife

TAFE Queensland carpentry students have spent several weeks cutting, sanding and nailing more than 40 wildlife boxes to help save injured possums from the recent devastating bushfires across the region.

The boxes were built with the guidance of TAFE Queensland carpentry teacher, Matt Zaranski and will be donated to The Rescue Collective, a not-for-profit organisation who is responsible for distributing them to impacted areas.

“After seeing the impact the fires had on our wildlife we decided to incorporate building the wildlife shelters as part of the students learning and assessment which ties in nicely to their core course work,” said Matt.

“This project provides competencies to safely select and use carpentry tools and equipment as well as demonstrates the students’ ability to measure, calculate and work to plans and specifications.”

“The boxes will house injured possums while they are recovering in care and also be scattered in trees around local bushland to be used as homes for possums being reintroduced to bushfire affected areas.”

Matt said many of the hollow tree trunks were burnt out in the fires which once provided safe homes for possums in their natural habitat.

“Each box made by our students can be securely attached to a tree and took up to two hours to make but should last five to ten years in the wild depending on the position of the box and exposure to the elements,” he said.

It’s easy to forget in the current crisis that there are still plenty of communities in recovery mode from the disasters earlier this year. Now more than ever it’s crucial to instil and maintain a sense of community spirit and togetherness as we rebuild and find a new normal.

Carpentry student, Thomas Miller from the TAFE Queensland Ashmore campus said it is fulfilling to know that his newly acquired skills are going to good use in the community and environment.

“Usually in catastrophic events such as the bushfires you feel powerless so it’s nice to actually feel helpful knowing one of our first practical learning projects will be used to help the local wildlife recover from the devastation” said Thomas.

“I have only recently come to Australia to study from the United States and my family back home have seen the news about the bushfires and when I told them about the project they were so happy and proud to know I was helping in some way.”

From entry-level skill sets and certificates through to advanced diplomas and bachelor degrees, TAFE Queensland offers a comprehensive range of study options, including plenty of online qualifications if you’re looking to explore study-from-home options. Visit tafe.qld.edu for more information.

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