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A catastrophe for wildlife has Risa Nye putting her nesting instinct to work with knitting needles.

Several of my friends have daughters who are in full nesting mode right now. These young mothers-to-be are counting the days until their babies arrive, when their lives will change in ways they cannot yet imagine. I remember filling dresser drawers with tiny outfits and checking off a list of items the baby would need, making sure that all was ready. The nesting instinct is overwhelming and inescapable.

And some of my friends have recently seen their grown-up babies leave the nest: for college, or out into the world to work or travel or just to figure things out. We talk about an empty nest when the children leave, but the nest is still there if they need to come home for a visit or for support or nurturing. The power of the nest is strong.

Nests have been on my mind as I follow the news about the fires in Australia. The number of animals and birds who have lost not only their nests, but their lives, is staggering. Over a billion animals gone, and many who survived are suffering from serious burns and injuries.

Thanks to requests from an animal rescue group headquartered in Australia, people from around the world have gathered fabric and yarn and sat down at their sewing machines or picked up their knitting needles and crochet hooks to fashion needed items for kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, joeys and bats. The call-out to crafters everywhere to make sweaters, blankets, pouches and nests for the injured or orphaned animals has garnered an overwhelming response.


While it may seem like a very small effort, the idea of knitting nests for these faraway survivors has grabbed me and I have pulled together yarn and supplies for making some small animal on the other side of the world feel comforted and nurtured in the face of unimaginable destruction. The nesting instinct, long dormant, has kicked in once again.

With a Perspective, I’m Risa Nye

Risa Nye lives in the East Bay.