Great Lakes residents have an opportunity to view a threatened species that lives right on suburban Forster's doorstep, by joining a free evening spotlighting event later this month.
Forster's southern urban area - which includes public reserves, trees and bushland on private land - is home to a significant population of the shy squirrel glider.
These tree-dwelling nocturnal mammals possess a flap of skin that extends from their wrists to their ankles allowing them to glide long distances between trees.
Forster's population is special because the species is listed as threatened due to a loss of habitat and impacts from exotic animals, such as cats.
Funding assistance from the NSW Environmental Trust has helped to enhance the habitat of the squirrel glider population.
Works include bushland restoration, such as weed removal, pest animal controls, food tree plantings, rubbish removal, and the delivery of community education programs.
We really need local residents to help protect the habitat of squirrel gliders in south Forster.Peter Goonan
"We've also installed over 50 nesting boxes in public reserves in south Forster, in partnership with the Men's Shed, which built the boxes for us," MidCoast Council environmental officer, Peter Goonan said.
"The boxes are important, providing breeding and nesting places for the squirrel gliders, because their natural hollows are in short supply due to urban development."
As part of the Explore with an Expert series and in partnership the NSW Environment Trust, Mr Goonan will lead a free evening spotlighting tour along The Southern Parkway on Thursday, July 25 beginning with a light dinner at the Forster Council Chambers from 6pm.
If you'd like the opportunity to tap into Peter's expertise as you explore, you will need to book in for the tour, as numbers are limited.
The tour is suitable for people aged over eight years, with a medium fitness level.
To learn more about the glider, or to watch a video of about one of Forster's cutest residents, visit the MidCoast Council Explore with an Expert - Squirrel Glider Spotlighting page.
And if you can't make the tour, there's still plenty you can do to find out more, and help look after your squirrel glider neighbours.
"We really need local residents to help protect the habitat of squirrel gliders in south Forster," Mr Goonan said.
"Some ways you can do this are to retain native trees and keep cats indoors."
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Great Lakes Advocate newsletter here.