Just as the western United States is undergoing its own large-scale wildfire disaster, Stars of HOPE have been sent to Kangaroo Island from the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley in California.
The Stars of HOPE represent the San Bernardino community's on-going outreach to South Australians impacted in the 2019/2020 Black Summer fires.
Receiving the stars was volunteer Emilis Prelgauskas of Adelaide, who ran logistics for the SA Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM) team that based itself out of the KI Wildlife Park during the summer fires, doing field triage of injured animals.
"Stars of HOPE began in the US in 2007 after the Hurricane Sandy event. Children and citizens in neighbouring communities made and hung homemade stars with messages reflecting their on-going concern," Emilis said.
"The San Bernardino Valley offering was made by their citizens and children including Girl Scout members."
SAVEM has had on-going contact from people around the planet during and since the KI fires, and the Stars of HOPE was the latest example of this, he said.
Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley representative Lynn Hildebrand packaged up and sent the Stars of HOPE to South Australia.
Lynn lives not far from where the El Dorado and Bobcat fires are currently burning in the Los Angeles area, covering almost 50,000 acres in the hills on the edge of the metropolis.
These fires are just of two of many unprecedented fires impacting on the western United States from Washington state to Oregon to California.
"I am glad the stars had a safe journey and are doing their job bringing wonderful messages of hope, encouragement, strength, courage, perseverance, and resiliency," Lynn said.
"In regards to KI: the people who make stars know that somewhere in the world there has been a tragedy or a disaster.
"They know people and animals are suffering and in pain. They know those involved in a disaster might be feeling overwhelmed with discouragement.
"The Stars of HOPE that were sent to Kangaroo Island were made by: students attending elementary school at Arrowhead Creative After School Program for Success, SOAR Charter Academy, Thompson, and Mt. Vernon; Girl Scout Troop 34 and Girl Scout 400; Humane Society volunteers/staff and children who attended our Critter Camp.
"Some 'star makers' did not know where their stars would be delivered, only that they would be sent anywhere in the world hope was needed. Others knew where they would be sent and designed them especially for KI."