LOCAL endangered wildlife won’t go cold this winter thanks to the Warragul Community House.
Above: Snug as a wombat in a rug. A baby wombat from Jindivick Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo by Cathy Smith.
First published in the 15 May 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Warragul Community House chair Cathy Smith is sewing up a storm, using fabric to create blankets and pouches for young native wildlife residing in animal shelters.
On Saturday 30 May Ms Smith will teach members of the community her skills in a workshop at the community house so they too can help the cause.
Ms Smith told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen she started sewing to help animals after meeting a carer in another community house program.
“When I started teaching Publisher and PowerPoint at the community house there were two carers from the Jindivick Victoria wildlife shelter,” she said.
“One of the carers, Gabby, brought in a wallaby she was looking after because they have to be fed every few hours.
“I was looking at the bag she had [the wallaby in] and said it was a lovely design. Gabby said they were always after bags because of the work they do.
“The pouches hang from a door handle and the animals able to jump inside.
“I had some material at home so I started whipping up these pouches and I brought them in to give to Gabby, who was really thankful. She wondered whether it would be worthwhile running a workshop, so I said ‘we can only try!'”
A dinner plate is key to the design of the pouches.
Above: the pouches. Photo by Jack Lacy.
“As a template I usually use a dinner plate or rubbish bin bottoms, as they provide a bigger circumference,” Ms Smith said.
“However, I vary what I use to depending on the size of the animal.”
Certain criteria must be followed while making the pouches to ensure the safety of the animals.
“There can’t be any stitching inside the pouches because the animals can catch their feet or claws, and the material needs to be something that’s warm enough to maintain their body heat, usually flannelette or faux fur,” Ms Smith said.
“The swamp wallaby that is endemic to here doesn’t have much fur, nor puggles (baby echnidna’s) because they have are hairless and only have tiny quills.”
Ms Smith said she would attempt to find a carer to speak at the workshop and introduce participants to the animals.
“I can give [the volunteers at the workshop] all the information when they turn up with their sewing machines and their enthusiasm, but it’s nice to see an animal that they would be making it for,” she said.
“It gives you the satisfaction of ‘I know why we are creating these things and are actually doing something constructive,’ and you have a visualisation.”
Ms Smith hopes to run her own program where members of the community not only create blankets and pouches but also witness the work of carers in animal welfare shelters in the future.
“I would like the event to become more incorporated, so it’s not just the carers coming here – [we could] do excursions so we can see how the animals and carers interact between each other.”
The Warragul Community House will host the Bags and Blankets Event, run by Cathy Smith, on 30 May from 10:00 to 14:00. 138 Normanby Street, Warragul.
Anyone can attend the event with a $2 donation, which will cover the cost of materials.
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