Rosemary Builder of Mount Barker, South Australia, has such an affinity for wildlife that it has led her to commit to walking 24km in ten days at the age of 88.
Ms Builder’s daughter, Marian MacLucas, is the President of Save Our Wildlife Foundation Inc (SOWFI), so the work of wildlife rescuers has always been close to Ms Builder’s heart.
When SOWFI started the Walk 4 Wildlife fundraiser to raise money to cover some of the costs of rescuing and rehabilitating native animals, Ms Builder decided to rise to the challenge.
“Until you see what SOWFI members are doing you don’t realise just how much money is involved in having the right safety equipment, finding cages for intermediate help and so on,” said Ms Builder.
“Even the nesting boxes which they put in the trees for the recovered possums, it all adds up, so certainly donations help a considerable amount.”
Ms Builder lives in a retirement village in her community and will need to walk at least 2.4km every day from October 6-16 to reach the 24km commitment.
Training for the walk has already started with Ms Builder walking to the local park and back alongside some of her retirement community members, and their furry friends, to test out the distance.
“I think I’m proving something so far, that I can manage it, and certainly you don’t think of the age when you’re doing it, you’re just thinking of the enjoyment and the effort to get there and back.”
Putting the effort into walking whatever distance you can manage in older age is more difficult, Ms Builder added.
“Certainly you have to be strong in a decision at this age to do that rather than sit down and read a book,” she said.
The distance of the Walk 4 Wildlife fundraiser represents the 24/7 care that SOWFI volunteers give to the wildlife they are rehabilitating, a dedication that Ms Builder has seen first-hand.
“Living with Marian for three years, I was sometimes able to help her with her animal charges,” she said.
It’s important to look after Australia’s native animals, Ms Builder said, because if the wildlife is not looked after now, her great grandchildren “will not have the pleasure of having them” around.
Ms Builder has a particular soft spot for the possums that are rescued by volunteers, as the animals are “very engaging little creatures”.
Donations can be made to support Ms Builder’s walking fundraiser on the SOFWI website.