Tamara’s action for injured wildlife earns her finalist position in National Awards
Family day care (FDC) educator Tamara Ruffin was recently recognised in the 2020 Excellence in Family Daycare Awards as one of four national finalists for the Family Daycare Educator of the Year Award.
Ms Ruffin, who has operated her own family daycare service for nearly five years represented Victoria and Tasmania, and was nominated by the families of children in her care after she donated almost 700 bat wraps and joey pouches to bushfire-affected animals in early 2020.
She was motivated to action after the 2019/20 summer of bushfires, wanting a way to stay connected to the community, and to help children to feel that they were able to make a real difference during a challenging time.
Working to teach the children in her care and their families how to hand-stitch the pouches and wraps, and also to sew them using machines, Ms Ruffin also worked with Federal Member for McEwen, Rob Mitchell, who collected the finished products and funded their distribution to animal shelters in bushfire-affected areas.
The wraps act as swaddles for injured or orphaned baby bats and flying foxes as a substitute for their mothers’ wings, while the pouches provide warmth and comfort to orphaned joeys.
Wildlife carers across Australia were in dire need of these wraps last summer as bats were acutely affected by the country’s mega bushfires, during which time approximately one third of Australia’s native flying fox population perished, while dehydrated pups were seen dropping from trees in Victoria and South Australia.
People in the Kilmore community, where Ms Ruffin’s service is based, donated blankets, sewing goods and other materials to support the cause.
While 2020 was initially a year of action and advocacy, the advent of COVID-19 quickly shifted priorities, as the needs of the children and families changed.
In 2021, Ms Ruffin said her biggest focus is on “standing still, processing and understanding what the children and families need most”.
“We’ve got a new group of children so we’re all just starting to get to know each other, really taking it slow this year,” she added.