Thanks to some crafty students, staff and community members, a wildlife rescue organization in Australia will soon be receiving handmade joey pouches and hanging bags for orphaned koalas, kangaroos and wallabies in their care. The Animal Rescue Craft Guild and the local Florida Rescue Crafters Group recently put out a call for volunteers to help Australia by creating and sending much-needed items to help wildlife. Ethan Hart and Paula Knipp from the Tarpon Springs campus Learning Resources department found a way to get SPC students and the surrounding community involved.
Students in SPC’s Tarpon Springs Campus Environmental Club, along with the Tarpon Campus library staff, Women on the Way members, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art (LRMA) staff, and Marisa Meale from the Palm Harbor Library were on site to help cut patterns and fabric last Friday. The event was covered by FOX 13 News as part of what the Tampa Bay area is doing to help animals affected by the bushfires in Australia. Teresa Wilkins, Director of LRMA, served as a spokesperson for the event. LRMA also graciously hosted a fabric-cutting party over the weekend and their docents, along with volunteers at the nearby Palm Harbor Library, are assisting in sewing items.
The Natural Sciences department at the Tarpon Springs campus has been a huge supporter of this project, with many of their laboratory staff and faculty donating time and resources. Kelli Stickrath, faculty advisor for the Environmental Club, and Rosa Edwards-Harris were instrumental in getting students involved. The SPC Theater Program’s Costume Construction class is also assisting with sewing items, thanks to the support of Scott Cooper and Jonathan Barnes. A special thank you goes out to our sign artist Anna Tingley, and our SPC crafters Thao Nguyen, Bonnie Simmons and Amanda Bodie, who contributed both fabric and their sewing/crocheting skills.
The response has been so overwhelming that the group no longer needs fabric nor additional volunteers. The plan now is to get the items completed, boxed, and shipped out to Australia early next week. If anyone wants to help contribute to the shipping costs, local members of the Florida Rescue Crafters have sent up a Gofundmepage specifically for this project. Items will be sent to a small rescue in Victoria that houses and cares for orphaned kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, bats, and other wildlife in the region, as well as an all-volunteer bat rescue in Melbourne dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of the endangered Grey Headed Flying Fox and other native Australian bats and wildlife.