TAFE Queensland carpentry students are cutting, sanding and nailing more than 40 wildlife boxes to help save injured possums from the recent devastating bush fires across the region.

The boxes are being built with the guidance of TAFE Queensland carpentry teacher, Matt Zaranski and will be donated to The Rescue Collective, a not-for-profit organisation who will distribute them to impacted areas.

“After seeing the impact the fires had on our wildlife we decided to incorporate building the wildlife shelters as part of the students learning and assessment which ties in nicely to their core course work,” said Matt.

“This project provides competencies to safely select and use carpentry tools and equipment as well as demonstrates the students ability to measure, calculate and work to plans and specifications.”

“The boxes will house injured possums while they are recovering in care and also be scattered in trees around local bushland to be used as homes for possums being reintroduced to bush fire affected areas.”

Matt said many of the hollow tree trunks were burnt out in the fires which once provided safe homes for possums in their natural habitat.

“Each box made by our students can be securely attached to a tree and took up to two hours to make but should last five to 10 years in the wild depending on the position of the box and exposure to the elements,” he said.

Carpentry student Thomas Miller from the TAFE Queensland Ashmore campus said it was fulfilling to know his newly acquired skills were going to good use in the community and environment.

"Usually in catastrophic events such as the bush fires you feel powerless so it’s nice to actually feel helpful knowing our practical learning projects will be used to help local wildlife recover from the devastation," said Thomas.

“I have only recently come to Australia to study from the United States and my family back home have seen the news about the bush fires on the TV and when I told them about the project they were so happy and proud to know I was helping in some way.”

TAFE Queensland General Manager on the Gold Coast, Karen Dickinson said the organisation is extremely honoured to be able to provide the resources to help rehabilitate the local wildlife.

“TAFE Queensland’s approach to learning and teaching is about making courses applicable to the current trends and needs of the local industry, and this is exactly what our wonderful teachers have done by applying the students’ skills to the needs of the community,” said Karen.

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