This Project Update will be short and to the point. We need your help today. If history teaches us anything, it is that time is of the essence right after a major catastrophe. Although Cyclone Yasi had mercy on the bigger metropolitan cities of Far North Queensland, it showed no such restraint on wildlife habitat. The Cassowary Coast took a direct hit and many parts of the Daintree rainforest were damaged as well. There is a lot we can't do, but there is an awful lot that we can do. But we need your help and we need your financial support.
Fruit trees are a major source of food for wildlife and most of these trees have been defoliated--stripped clean. Major food operations are underway including setting up food stations near known heavy wildlife traffic, aerial food drops in the denser jungle regions and a massive restoration and revegetation program to extend the rainforest and protect the old-growth/mature rainforest. Below are key reasons why we need to act now and get the job done:
The Australian Rainforest Foundation (ARF) is headquartered in Cairns, Queensland, part of Tropical North Queensland. Our GlobalGiving project, Protect Vital Rainforest in Australia for Climate, is located where Cyclone Yasi hit. Our main work is located here and our tropical rainforest reserves are here. Please visit project #1842 and see why we would love to earn your support today. The Project Update that follows is the update we provided for Protect Vital Rainforest in Australia for Climate donors. Thank you!
Cyclone Yasi Update--3 the /2/2011 at 14:30 hours.
Cyclone Yasi has devastated the coastal area between Innisfail, Mission Beach and Tully. This is prime rainforest habitat (called the Cassowary Coast) for the endangered Southern Cassowary, the 'Gardener of the Rainforest' in Tropical North Queensland. Not a tree standing in downtown Mission Beach. 90% of banana production destroyed. The World Heritage Listed Daintree rainforest wasn't hit as hard. This is prime cassowary habitat as well, along with rare and endangered flora and fauna, tree kangaroos, wallaby, cockatoos, etc...
ARF has a rainforest block (145 acres) in the worst hit area--Mission Beach. As of tonight, no word on condition of rainforest which was 90% old-growth rainforest. I will update this project again tomorrow night. Please know--this is shaping up to be a wildlife and habitat tragedy in this part of the region. The only good news (possibly) is that the World Heritage Listed Daintree rainforest might have been spared a real heartbreaking loss. We'll know more about this tomorrow. But World Heritage Listed rainforest and its wildlife south of Cairns is in real serious trouble. We have a lot of work to do! Please donate if you can and please ask a friend. Updates on First Response/Disaster Recovery operations will be forthcoming.
The summer heat is fast approaching in Southern Victoria and many, many seedlings have been planted. The seedlings are rainforest canopy trees from a local nursery. Some of the trees include the following: Blackwoods and Mountain Ash, Myrtle Beach and Southern Sassafras and also some Mountain Grey Gums. These trees are helping put up a natural defense to possible future bushfires since they are far less flammable than Eucalyptus trees. These trees will also help provide more forest canopy which is a major habitat for many species. We are creating a home and helping the environment all in one!
The Australian Rainforest Foundation is very pleased with the work we have been engaged with in Victoria and we will soon be determining our next project site since a good deal of the planting in the project area has already been completed. There are major conservation issues in this part of the country that are so important to the environment and the Australian Rainforest Foundation wants to work and do the most good in areas where our resources, staff, agents and volunteers can be the most effective.
Thank you very much for your continued generosity. We appreciate it greatly and please know your support helps the foundation with the on-the-ground efforts as well as in getting these important conservation messages across. I don't know if Man and Nature can ever be in complete harmony. Organizations like the Australian Rainforest Foundation are trying to right a few wrongs and bolster nature up as much as possible. Of course, much of the reason for this work is Man itself, and nothing can ever be 100% replicated. But we'll keep doing our best and try and learn some new lessons along the way.
Also GlobalGiving donors, please read the following from Alison McQuade at GlobalGiving:
"GlobalGiving is a finalist for a Classy Award in Most Innovative Use of Social Media, and we NEED YOUR VOTE! We're in SECOND place with only TWO days left to vote. It's fast and free to vote, so we'd really appreciate it if you took a minute to vote GlobalGiving for Most Innovative Use of Social Media in the DC Classy Awards. And please share this link with friends, family and your Facebook and/or Twitter networks. Thank you!"
Link is http://www.stayclassy.org/classy-awards?city_id=19 Thank you donors. I hope you will join me and help support GlobalGiving by voting for them. Voting ends Friday!! GlobalGiving's Social Media Team is a big reason why this Project is succeeding and your vote for GlobalGiving can help raise invaluable awareness and support for causes such as Climate Change, Animals, Poverty and Education here in the states and around the world.
Our project, Restore Australia's Forests After the Wildfires, has some very, VERY exciting news!! So exciting--we even changed our main project picture. Our project has seen our mission evolve from a rescue and recovery operation after the Black Saturday and other Wildfires of Jan/Feb 2009 to a rehabilitate and restore operation. In some cases in fact, even beyond merely restoring the forests by designing and planting natural defenses and buffer zones in and around the forests so wildfires like the record breaking ones last year don't sweep in and burn as fast as before. This is a very important fact because in a minute, the Australian Rainforest Foundation is going to introduce you to our 2nd project beneficiary, Mr. and Mrs. Alan and Stella Reid of Wildhaven outside of Melbourne, Victoria where the Black Saturday Wildfire stormed in like a tornado on the sun.
Wildhaven (at St. Andrews) is a wildlife shelter in the Australian state of Victoria and is located south of Melbourne. As Stella puts it, " Wildhaven is a property dedicated to caring for the beautiful natural wildlife of Australia." At Wildhaven, the animals roam free and if they can't be re-introduced into the wild after triage, treatment and/or other rehabilitation purposes, they live out the rest of their lives at Wildhaven. Wildhaven was completely and utterly destroyed on 7 February 2009. Every kangaroo, koala, wombat, wallaby, etc...at Wildhaven at the time was killed. Alan and Stella Reid were lucky to get out alive. This is why the Australian Rainforest Foundation started this project in February 2009. We knew that with the help of GlobalGiving and GlobalGiving Partners such as eBay and MissionFish and of course, GlobalGiving donors such as yourself, we could help raise much needed funds for people like Alan and Stella Reid and for Richard Appleton and the work we are involved in with restoring these forests and designing and planting the natural buffer zones.
The good news folks is that Alan and Stella Reid are determined to bounce their way back and never give up on their passion and true love for the wildlife. Wildhaven has just completed stage one of the shelter re-build, which includes a 4.5 acre enclosure with four shelters/feed sheds inside as well as a five stable complex for the large injured kangaroos brought in and a well stocked first aid room for triage and treatment purposes. This is a big and important operation friends and operations like this cost money, lots of money. The Australian Rainforest Foundation (thanks to all of you GlobalGiving donors) is helping fund Wildhaven's general operating expenses which vary greatly throughout the year. On average, these costs could range from about $2,000-$2,500 a month. For example, a bag of powdered milk for the joeys to drink costs $500 Australian dollars, plus you have bandages, tape, medicine, food, etc.. and again these things aren't cheap. But our commitment is solid and we will continue to raise funds for operations such as Wildhaven and for our forest projects in bushfire affected areas in Victoria.
We are enclosing pictures of Wildhaven, the Reid's and of course the incredible kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and more. Stella names all the animals living at Wildhaven--whether the animals are there for a quick triage and rehab or permanent members of the Wildhaven family. In time, you will get to know these incredible animals and hopefully take pride in the fact that your donations will help keep their tummies full and their cuts and scratches clean. The Australian Rainforest Foundation is very happy to be engaged in this two-tier operation of helping rehabilitate wildlife and restoring their habitat. The two go together and we hope all of you will continue supporting our vital efforts here in Victoria, Australia. Thanks again and we'll be updating you again real soon on Wildhaven and on our work with Richard Appleton and the vital habitat.
We at the Australian Rainforest Foundation are happy to be reporting back to you. The field report is below. I would like to announce that on 16 June (next Wednesday), GlobalGiving is having a Matching Day for all donations!! Please, if you are thinking about possibly donating to our project, the 16th would be a great day to do it. Also, if any of you work for a company that offers a Gift Match Program and/or a Charitable Contribution Program, donations via your employer-sponsored benefit would double (and even sometimes triple) the giving power. The ARF is also working on setting up a promotion fit for companies where the ARF would give away trips for two to Australia. Trips would include getting your hands dirty and helping us rehabilitate the rainforest, wildlife treks and of course great sightseeing of the Daintree rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and much, much more. Please contact Paul Medici, Manager of American Operations, for more details. We would love to see some of you mates out here with us!! Paul's email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Phillips, CEO, ARF
Hello GlobalGiving donors! My name is Graeme Miller and I am the Australian Rainforest Foundation's Project Manager for rehabilitation operations in bushfire territory. Below is a field report from one of our project beneficiaries, Mr. Richard Appleton. Thank you for all your kind giving and for the care you have shown us down here in bushfire territory. Means a lot to know that people so far away are interested in our work. Cheers Mates!
“So far we have:
- Grown all of the seedlings to a plantable size, and started to harden them off. It is important that they become acclimatised to the cold and frost in the relative protection of the nursery before going out into an exposed environment. The optimum time for planting is during the colder, wetter months, June-July-August, so they establish themselves before the heat of summer.
- Purchased the materials for the tree guards and constructed the guards. They have been transported to the site, ready for the planting to start.
- I have also been lucky to obtain some mature (2-3 year old) seedlings of rainforest canopy trees from a local nursery. We may be able to get some of these planted using project funds if planting the buffer trees takes less time than anticipated. The contractors have told me they are prepared to provide extra work within the quoted price if this occurs. If not, I will plant them myself. I have also bought 200 young Myrtle Beech (rainforest canopy) cuttings for growing on and planting over the next few years at my own expense, within the gully that will be buffered by the project planting.”
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CEO, Australian Rainforest Foundation