***UPDATE***Sunday, February 15th***UPDATE***
A fantastic group of individuals in Australia have started a blog called Handmade Help - 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal. I have elected to change my donation organization from AWHC to the Wildlife Victoria organization which will possibly be able to help even more of the affected animals. In addition to the $5 per print donation I have promised, I will also be offering free shipping on all orders for the remainder of February...everything else in this post remains the same...thank you, and squeeze your loved ones for me,k?
What you see here is the Melbourne, Australia skyline seen from the suburb called Kinglake that was burned out over the last few days in the largest bushfires in Australian history. I called Melbourne home for two years of my life (93/94) and gave birth to my lovely half-Australian son there. I don't often talk about that time in my life, so long ago, things so different now but all of the good memories have come flooding back over the past five days - what a wonderful place in the world. I have been shocked by the terrible stories of the fires that have, up to this point, taken 181 human lives. That number, it is said, might climb as high 300 during these next days.
Of my memories, some of the best and most impressionable for me were my visits to the Healesville Sanctuary. Only an hour's drive from Melbourne and dangerously close to where the fires have been raging, the Sanctuary houses 200 species of Australian wildlife.
Me petting a wallaby there almost sixteen years ago to this day...
Another of the lovely resting wallabies...
And some crazy/fantastic kookaburras about to laugh at us...
With more than 1000 animals, it was not possible to safely evacuate all of them but the staff did transfer many of the threatened species to other area zoos. Luckily, as of this writing, the Sanctuary seems to be out of imminent danger although it does remain closed to the public - only the keepers, veterinarians and curators remain there with the animals left behind.
People from all corners of the world are rallying to support victims of these senseless - some arson caused - fires and I cannot sit still.
I have pledged to donate $5 of each print sold and free shipping in my Etsy store for the remainder of February to the efforts of Wildlife Victoria. Perhaps you've had one of my prints in mind for yourself, perhaps for someone else - this would be a good time to pick one up. Alternatively, here is a link to a list of other organizations that are accepting donations during this tragic time.
Please spread the word and if you are unable to make a financial commitment at this time please keep everyone directly affected in your loving thoughts - I really am certain it will make a difference. Thank you.