Mannering Park Men's Shed builds 40 wildlife recovery boxes for native animals impacted by fires and drought

THINGS usually move at a relaxed pace inside the Mannering Park Men's Shed.

That's the way the blokes like to roll - especially those enjoying retirement.

But all that changed recently when shed president Joe Lavin sent a group email to members.

Mr Lavin wanted to gauge the men's interest in a proposed project to build wildlife recovery boxes for critters impacted by the drought and fires.

"The next minute you couldn't move in the shed because of the blokes making possum boxes," Mr Lavin said.

The project came to fruition recently when the Men's Shed presented 40 of the possum boxes to Wildlife ARC (Animal Care and Rescue).

The next minute you couldn't move in the shed because of the blokes making possum boxes.

- Joe Lavin

Longtime local Wildlife ARC volunteer Sue Mannion said the possum boxes would be deployed to animal carers from Newcastle to Hornsby.

She said the boxes would at first be used to house displaced animals that were currently in care.

"This gives the animal a chance to get used to the box and its smell. Then when the animal is ready to be returned to the wild, the possum box becomes their permanent home," she said.

Recent bushfires had destroyed many of the hollow trunks that usually provided homes for animals such as possums, she said.

She said the drought and bushfires had been devastating for many animals.

"If anything positive has come out of the situation it is that people are realising it's been an absolute disaster," she said.

For Wildlife ARC volunteers, it was "a disaster every day" due to the impact on native animals of hazards such as cars and cats, she said.

Mr Lavin said the Men's Shed could not have completed the project without generous donations of plywood from Bunnings Morisset, Carroll's Timber and Building Supplies, and Kyzac Powder Coating.

"I also want to acknowledge every single member of our Men's Shed," he said.

The Manno Men's Shed wasn't going to stop there, he said.

"This will be an ongoing project for us, and we're looking next at making boxes for smaller animals. And other Men's Sheds are getting on board."

In welcoming guests to the Manno Men's Shed for a morning tea, Mr Lavin described Mannering Park as the place "where God comes for his holidays".

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