Faces of FOK: Q&A with Claire
What is your background?
I am originally from the Blue Mountains of NSW and grew up in the bush. My upbringing sparked my love of the natural world so much so that I decided to make it a career, and study a Bachelor of Science and after that a Master of Wildlife Management at university. Since then, I worked in the zoo and aquarium sector before moving up to the Northern Rivers in 2018.
What is your FOK story? When did you join and why?
When I started at Friends of the Koala in early 2018, I was the only paid employee, working alongside around 50 to 60 passionate volunteers. Since then, the organisation has grown rapidly (partly due to the 2019/2020 black summer bushfires) and now employs 8 paid staff, has about 150 active volunteers and now operates the only specialised koala hospital in the region. I am incredibly humbled to have been a part of the journey and to have contributed to the legacy that is Friends of the Koala.
What has been your biggest achievement/special memory during your time at FOK?
I don’t think I can narrow it down to a particular moment or achievement! While I love koalas, for me, the thing that gets me out of bed each day is knowing that if we save the koala, we also save the myriad of other species like flying foxes and sugar gliders, that use the same ecological niche.
Fun fact: before I started at Friends of the Koala, I had never seen a koala in the wild before! It’s still a huge thrill when I spot a koala in the natural habitat that surrounds the centre.