Thurgoona Men’s Shed, just outside of Albury, is like many others across Australia which provide a space for men to learn new skills, contribute to the local community and socialise. Established in October 2012, the Shed has undertaken a number of projects for local organisations in need, but few would have predicted that the group would one day turn their attention to providing new homes for squirrel gliders.
As part of the Albury Conservation Company’s ‘Squirrel glider urban nest box program’, which was rolled out in 2015, members of the shed designed, tested and constructed 100 glider nestboxes. The nestboxes included a rubber baffle to deter Indian Mynas whilst still enabling a pole-mounted camera to be used for monitoring.
The custom-designed nestboxes complement the Squirrel Gliders preferred habitat – the natural tree hollows found in the region’s mature and old growth Box-Ironbark woodlands, River Red Gum forest and Blackbutt-Bloodwood forest. Sadly these species of tree are some of the many that are declining rapidly in number as urban development rapidly.
The glider nestboxes have now been installed in backyards of residential and small rural properties on the outskirts of Albury, NSW. Prior to the instalment of the nestboxes, mapping was done to ascertain the best locations for the new glider homes to be established.
Thurgoona is fortunate to have a significant population of squirrel gliders and maintaining a viable population is a key focus of the Albury Conservation Company which managed the nest box project on behalf of the Slopes to Summit GER regional partner network. Funding was provided through a grant from the Great Eastern Ranges.
Though the project wrapped up in 2015, the Albury Conservation Company continues to support landholders who participated and is building on the success of the project. This includes installing solar powered night vision cameras to enable better monitoring of nest box inhabitants.