What is your FOK story and when did you join?
This is my second year volunteering with Friends of the Koala, I started in February 2020.
I first started doing work with the Nature Conservation Council and in around 2019, we were doing a campaign for the state election about the forestry agreements and those sorts of things. I held market stalls and the like to raise money for the campaign. While I was doing this, I realised I just really want to do something practical so I contacted FOK. It was just before the bushfires and they were super busy and not recruiting at the time but then they started to recruit so I came along and got started.
I do koala care here, so we come every afternoon and clean the enclosures, pick up all the scats and replace the leaf. Later on in the afternoon we do the treatments, if any of them are having milk (Biolac) or prescribed supplements like Critter Care, we give them that. It’s really sweet when you do the treatments because you get a lot closer to the koalas.
What does volunteering with Friends of the Koala mean to you?
FOK is so important because the koalas are in such peril out there, they’ve got dogs; loss of habitat and disease, so without people caring for them they’d all die. They’re so endangered at the moment, it’s just critical they get care.
Volunteering is so important for me because it’s something practical I can do. Often I feel really helpless when I hear about all the death and destruction in relation to wildlife and the environment and I’ve felt really powerless and helpless a lot of the time. I’ve been doing things for a long time with bigger organisations like the Greens but often I didn’t feel like I was really doing much, not to say that campaigning isn’t important. It’s absolutely vital, but it’s just different to be doing something really practical.
Why do you think that volunteering with any organisation is important?
Volunteering for FOK has made me feel like I’m actually doing something to make a difference. Instead of just worrying and watching the news, I feel like making a small difference in my own way. It’s also so heartening to see all the volunteers here, there are so many. Friends of the Koala runs like a well-oiled ship; it has to because we are caring for koalas and everything has to be done properly. Without all these volunteers it wouldn’t exist, it’s quite critical to have this level of volunteering going on.