Faces of FOK: Q&A with Konrad

How long have you been with FOK?
I’ve been here since October 2019 when we were hit by the bushfires. I started off as a koala carer and then I moved into a supervisor role. Earlier this year, I also started doing some lab work with the IFAW Sponsored Vet team as part of the internship component of my Environmental Science degree.

What has your volunteering experience with FOK been like?
I don’t really see it as work! It’s hard to describe, but it’s a great thing to come and do and take your mind off things and work alongside a great group of people. Everyone is really likeminded and has the same sort of opinions but different takes on those opinions and it’s great to discuss and hear how different people think about science and conservation. It’s really cool to be amongst.

What are you hoping to do with your Environmental Science degree?
I want to do conservation biology and that was the big drawcard for me here at FOK. I wanted to see how you could treat a species that is in decline and whether you can turn it around. That’s the space I want to work in when I finish.

Why do you think the work that FOK does is so important?
For me, especially in Australia, our animals are so important to our nation – in regards to tourism, education, all these sorts of things. Being able to work with a threatened species and do important work that ensures their survival is really important to me. Ensuring that future generations of these animals exist in the ecosystem is vital and that’s what FOK is all about.

Is there any experience here at FOK that stands out to you as something really special?
The volunteers and vet staff are the most special thing for me. Welcoming me and allowing me to share their space and answer all my questions – I’ve been really fortunate. The vets, Jackie and Marley have been so great to me and I feel really lucky.

In terms of a specific memory, there was a koala who was a car-hit victim, CW, and he was the first koala I worked with as a carer. We developed a bit of a bond. He only had one eye and so was always winking at me! He’s now down in Port Macquarie and is part of the breeding program down there and I think he has produced some joeys now. I’m really happy for him. To be a part of his recovery was really cool.