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The Koala Blog

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National Volunteer Week 2024

Without our almost 300 volunteers - there would be no Friends of the Koala

It’s National Volunteer Week. As a volunteer-based organisation with close to 300 active volunteers, all of whom contribute massively to the conservation of koalas, recognising and appreciating our volunteers is really important to us. A huge thank you to each and everyone of them!

Together, we are an incredibly resilient force in koala conservation – our volunteers are experts in their fields, deeply committed to saving the koala from extinction. Our volunteers come from all walks of life with varying skills and come together with their desire to save koalas.

It is no exageration to say our volunteers are the backbone of Friends of the Koala, contributing 75,500 hours in the financial year 2022/23 to an estimated value of $3 million dollars – three times our operating budget! The social and environmental value of their contribution is higher yet as they are filling an otherwise unmet need.

Something for everyone

This year’s theme of the Volunteer Week is ‘something for everyone‘. With a multitude of reasons and almost as many roles to volunteer with us, there is definitely something for everyone here. If you would like to volunteer with Friends of the Koala, please check out our volunteer page and look out for our volunteer information sessions.

Our National Volunteer Week Celebrations

First up we wanted to introduce two new leafing volunteers to you! Jack is studying Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care, whilst working and Les, in addition to his day job, is attempting to tame the Friends of the Koala grounds from wild weeds! A big plus? They’re not 60+ like many of the rest of us leafers and have no knee complaints (yet)!! Welcome on board.

We welcomed two new volunteers Jack and Les
Two new leafing volunteers Jack and Les
Jenny and Jane received a free tree to celebrate National Volunteer Week.
Jenny and Jane received a tree to celebrate National Volunteer Week.

This week has been filled with appreciation activities for our volunteers! Our Volunteer Coordinator Jen has been busy issuing lucky volunteer prizes including photos of koalas (we can never have enough koala photos!), plant booklets, children’s activity books, plants and Friends of the Koala merchandise.

We have an open morning tea planned for the end of the week and Jen has also been distributing Trainee Completion Certificates to those who have completed their training this week.

It doesn’t go unnoticed with the community the work volunteers do. I often get the comment: ‘we’ve seen your vehicles out and about’. Your volunteers do a great job! Just so proud!

Jen Ridolfi – Volunteer Coordinator
Our volunteers do an incredible job bring leaf in for our koalas each day.
Look at all that leaf!!

Our leafing crew make sure that our koalas have enough leaf each day in our Northern Rivers Koala Hospital and Koala Care Centre. A lot of effort goes into it as you can see! We also have some new misters, designed to keep things cool.

Additional events throughout Volunteer Week include:

Volunteer Information Day – 20th May

An information session for volunteers on the various roles we have at Friends of the Koala, this information will take place from 10am – 12pm

Induction Day – 24th May

10am – 12pm Presentation

Lake Walk Tour by volunteers – 23rd May

Our volunteers will take you on a tour of the lake at 2pm on 23rd May – you might just spot one of our local tree-dwellers!

Koala Conversations

Coming up for our locals and visitors: Koala Conversations, proudly developed by the Northern Rivers Koala Partnership, made up of Friends of the Koala and six regional councils, Koala Conversations will take place from May 18th to June 1st. You can expect engaging events across the Northern Rivers including workshops, tree plantings and field days – all focused on koalas! Read more.

Farewell to Graham

Friends of the Koala are very sorry to bid farewell to one of our greatest! After thirteen years of service, we are so very sorry to say goodbye to Graham but wish him and his family all the very best.

When I moved to Lismore in 2010 I was looking for volunteer work and chose Friends of the Koala. I have been leafing and disposing of the used leaf since that time. Having moved back out to the country and taken on extra family commitments something had to give, so after 13 years I say farewell to Friends of the Koala.
All those trips here, there and everywhere with lots of chatting en route with other keen saviours.

Thanks to Fiona Dawson for organising a farewell gathering and thanks to all compatriots for their ongoing commitment.

Long live our Koalas!


Graham, You were such a significant part of the leafing team for so long, I can’t imagine you will be easy to replace. Such an important reminder of the significance and difference an individual can make to the organisation for our koalas. Thank you for all your efforts and time. Friends of the Koala was lucky to have you.

Aliison, President, Friends of the Koala
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