Jasmine Brackenbury is sewing joey pouches for Australia’s wildlife affected by the county’s devastating fire. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

B.C. woman sewing for Australia’s wildlife in wake of bushfires

Estimates peg loss of animals at over 1 billion

Although Revelstoke is more than 13,000 km away from Australia, one local is using a needle and thread to help the country’s wildlife.

So far, more than 100,000 sq km has burned this fire season in Australia, which is roughly the size of Iceland. Some 27 people have been killed, including four firefighters. The Australian government is calling it the worst season on record.

Many homes have been lost. (Pixabay)

The country is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades and recent heatwaves have pushed the thermometer well beyond 40 degrees Celsius.

READ MORE: Canada will consider more aid for Australia as bushfires burn across country

READ MORE: Australia to pay ‘whatever it takes’ to fight wildfires

University of Sydney ecologist Chris Dickman, quoted in news articles this week, estimates that more than a billion animals have been killed thus far.

Nevertheless, people from around the world are donating money and supplies to help the country.

Revelstoke local Jasmine Brackenbury grew up on a farm in Australia. Her mother was always taking in animals, such as injured owls.

“It’s normal for Australians to be surrounded by animals,” she said.

“They’re a huge part of our culture.”

When Brackenbury first heard about the fires back home, she wept a lot.

“For the land and the people,” said Brackenbury.

And so, she asked herself, “What can I do to help?”

One day, she came across a post on Instagram, asking for joey pouch donations. Joey pouches are used to hold baby kangaroos, called joeys, and other marsupials like a mother’s pouch.

Since Brackenbury runs her own knitting business in Revelstoke called Ocean Peak Designs, making pouches seemed like a natural fit.

So far, Brackenbury has sewn 18 liners and 8 outer pouches. She using scrap fabric from making her daughter’s clothes.

Once she has a shipment of pouches ready to go, she’ll send them to Kelowna, where the Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild will forward it onto Australia.

Brackenbury said in situations where we’re watching a disaster unfold on the other side of the world, we often feel helpless.

“However, there’s lots we can do, even if it feels like we can’t,” she said.

“And if you can’t donate money, maybe you can donate time.”

Brackenbury is also selling knitting patterns for her beanies and toques and donating 100 per cent of the money to help Australian fire fighters and wildlife.

She also posted her intentions on Facebook, hoping to inspire others. She said various Revelstokians have reached out, wanting to help and make pouches.

“Revelstoke is a maker community.”


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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Many homes have been lost. (Pixabay)

Brackenbury and her son sort pouches. They vary in size depending on the critter. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

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