THE BUSH is abuzz in the Whroo-Goldfields region, with sugar gliders, phascogales and even owls taking up residence in nest boxes.
The 1,000 boxes, scattered throughout the box-ironbark forest, aim to provide a home to endangered species.
Recent monitoring conducted by Whroo-Goldfields Conservation Management Network (CMN) president Orlando Talamo showed that nearly 60 per cent of boxes continue to be occupied by local wildlife.
Bats, spiders and insects are also taking advantage of this natural habitat.
Boxes were first installed by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority Drought Employment Program crew after they saw a lack of tree hollows in the forest.
The absence of homes for the animals can be traced back to the gold rush in the mid-1800s.
“All the trees were cleared for mining and houses. When trees finally started growing and ageing again, World War II hit and the forests were stripped again for firewood,” CMN’s coordinator Janice Mentiplay-Smith said.
“So it’s really rare to see old trees with hollows in this district.
“Some people ask, ‘Aren’t you ruining life for these animals by installing these man-made boxes?’
“We’re just offering a temporary home until the trees catch up.”
Ms Mentiplay-Smith said the recent report on the use of the nest boxes was heartening.
“It’s a really tangible outcome. We’re not just hoping we’ll have a positive effect – we can see that we are.”
With the project currently receiving no ongoing funding, she encouraged locals and businesses to get involved.
“We’re running the Adopt-a-Nest-Box program, allowing locals to purchase a nest box which is built, installed and regulated by our team. It’s a great gift idea if you don’t know what to get someone,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.
‘‘The key to the project’s success is the local community, which has thrown its weight behind the project — whether it’s building the nest boxes, installing them in public areas or on private land, taking part in education and awareness days or monitoring the nest boxes.”
For $100 each, locals can adopt a nest box and have their name engraved on it.
For more information on the nest box program, contact Janice Mentiplay-Smith at [email protected]