Nature needs you

Wombat Forestcare convenor Gayle Osborne. Photo: Sandy Scheltema

In cities and towns across the globe, people are taking walks in nature, seeking solace in nature – and yet nature needs us more than ever.
That’s the call from local environmental group Biolinks Alliance, amid growing concerns the coronavirus is deflecting urgent attention from the climate and biodiversity crisis.
“So many of us are turning to nature to get us through these unsettling times,” Biolinks CEO Sophie Bickford said.
“But it’s critical we don’t forget the dire situation of our environment and native species – the need to act has not lost any of its urgency.”
Deakin University’s Professor Don Driscoll, a conservation biologist, shares Sophie’s concerns.
“It’s not just the mounting number of extinctions in Australia that terrifies ecologists,” he said.
“It’s also the widespread loss of previously common species.
“In central Victoria, around 200 animal and 575 plant species are threatened.”
Threatened species lists have not yet taken into account the devastation of the summer’s unprecedented bushfire season, in which 1.2 million hectares were burnt and over a billion native animals are estimated to have died.
“Even more Australians became deeply concerned about the climate and biodiversity crisis after the bushfires. It left people motivated to make lasting change,” Sophie said.
Biolinks urges central Victorians to remember there is still plenty they can do to help our native species and ecosystems, even while social distancing.
“The good news is that restoration and climate-proofing is possible,” Sophie said.
Biolinks is adapting its events to offer online workshops about using wildlife cameras and how to preserve large, old trees, which offer vital ‘stepping stones’ for native species to travel between fragmented pockets of habitat.
Other groups, such as Wombat Forestcare, a volunteer group that cares and advocates for the Wombat Forest, are catching up on scientific data entry and the masses of paperwork that advocacy entails.
Convenor Gayle Osborne is not letting the cameras go unused.
“Our motion camera monitoring work was cancelled, so I set the cameras up around my property for the National Herbarium of Victoria,” she said.
“So far I’ve found wallabies and a mountain brushtail possum eating six different species of fungi.”
Readers can find out more about the work of Biolinks Alliance at