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Our very own Gardening Guru

Volunteers are our greatest resource. We are incredibly lucky to have over 100 passionate volunteers that dedicate their time and energy to our cause – without them it would not be possible to do what we do!

While a lot of our volunteers are keen to assist with the daily care and rescue of koalas, some prefer to help in the nursery or assist with general maintenance and cleaning. One of these people is Angela Babkova. Angela started with Friends of the Koala in November 2018. Originally from Ukraine, Angela emigrated to Australia in 1998 and settled in Lismore. Since emigrating, Angela developed a huge green thumb and went on to complete a Certificate II in both Horticulture and Floristry.

After routinely driving past our centre on her regular bus route, Angela decided to book an induction, hoping Friends of the Koala could be a place where she could follow her passion for gardening. After completing the induction and learning about what we do and the common roles volunteers undertake, Angela told Lola, our Volunteer Coordinator at the time in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t care for koalas, she would garden instead. Rather than disagree, Lola let Angela have free reign. And boy, didn’t she make a huge difference!

Over the period of a couple of weeks, Angela had mulched, weeded and edged the gardens, planted more native plants and terraced the slope behind Burribi Education Centre. She would also rake and sweep the driveway every shift. All these changes made such a huge difference to the look and feel of our centre. Not only were staff and supervisors thrilled with her work, other volunteers started to notice Angela’s hard work and praised her for it.

Angela has had such a positive impact not only with her gardening work but also to our team. She always has a smile on her face even when she is digging around in the dirt.  Angela has big plans for the rest of the site with much more weeding, mulching and edging  to be done – we are so happy to have her!