Working bees will be hosted at Flat Rock Gully for residents to connect and help grow food for sick, injured, and orphaned native animals. It’s all thanks to the Growing Food for Wildlife Project.
Imagine if you could learn to grow edible plants for our native wildlife, while connecting with your local community and leaving a positive impact on the environment. Thanks to the Growing Food for Wildlife Project, this lovely vision is a reality for many green thumbs, animal lovers and nature enthusiasts in Sydney. And now it’s coming to Willoughby!
The idea for this eco-friendly, community-minded initiative germinated from the challenges faced by local wildlife rescuers, who often struggled to find suitable food for the animals in their care. Faced with compassion fatigue and the need for a sustainable solution, wildlife rehabilitator and vet in training Shaun Warden, founded the Growing Food for Wildlife Project.
Shaun explains, “We found a way to bring together many different communities to plant flora which can be used to help the wildlife rehabilitation community. All of this while we share knowledge and bring not only foliage and flowers for wildlife, but also a better understanding of fauna and flora for gardeners and land owners. But we needed a location…”
Collaborating with local councils and landowners, Shaun found a suitable spot for the flagship site at Annangrove Community Environment Centre. The founding site has become a hub for working bees, where friendships have fruited and many flowers and foliage have been produced for animals in care.
“This project bridges the gap in knowledge between flora and fauna,” Shaun says. “Many people don’t realise that you need 2-3 kilograms of fresh shoots every night to feed an adult brushtail possum. Personally, I have spent 8 hours within one week just harvesting enough food for the possums that I had in care, while fitting in four hourly feeds – and I am not alone by any means.”
Growing Food for Wildlife’s impact extends far beyond the Annangrove Community thanks to the project’s highly adaptable model. Anyone can create their own site at home, connect to the project and donate the overgrowth to wildlife rehabilitators, or reach out to the project to help them start their own on a larger scale.
This year, the project expanded its reach through a partnership with Willoughby City Council and Willoughby Bush Care at Flat Rock Gully.
Working bees are hosted at Flat Rock Gully every fourth Saturday of the month from 10am to 1pm, and offer a chance for residents to connect, learn about gardening and local wildlife from people on the front line, harvest native plants, and contribute to the care of sick, injured, and orphaned native animals.
Shaun encourages, “Locals should absolutely come and get involved… It allows the community, as a whole unit, to come together to help make a real connective difference to fauna and flora, and have an absolute blast while doing it – plus, what they harvest will genuinely feed a wild animal that has met very real unfortunate circumstances.”
So, if you’re eager to make a difference, grab your gardening gloves and join Growing Food for Wildlife at their next working bee.
Growing Food For Wildlife Project