Volunteering with Friends of the Koala

Our precious volunteers make our work possible.

Volunteering to save koalas is an unforgettable experience and a chance to make a difference.


Volunteering with Friends of the Koala

Our precious volunteers are what make our work possible.

Volunteering to save koalas is an unforgettable experience and a chance to make a difference.

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Every volunteer makes a difference.
Apply now and help us save koalas!

Volunteering Lismore, Northern Rivers or Virtually Worldwide!

 Friends of the Koala have the support of nearly 240 amazing volunteers here in Lismore, Northern Rivers and around the world, who dedicate their time and energy to our cause.

We welcome new volunteers at any time and offer a range of rewarding volunteer opportunities. By volunteering with us, not only will you get the opportunity to work closely with koalas, you will also develop new skills, make friends and work in an engaging, supportive and safe environment.

Volunteers are required to attend various training sessions depending on the skill level they wish to attain and will be subject to an initial two-month probationary period. All volunteers abide by the FOK Code of Conduct [31KB] to protect the health and safety of our koalas and each other.

If you have a few hours to spare each week, a love of koalas and want to support your local community, Friends of the Koala may be the place for you! Express your interest now by clicking "become a volunteer" or call our office on 02 6621 4664 for more information.

Volunteer Positions

volunteering Lismore | animal volunteer

Volunteer koala carers

Volunteer with koalas in Lismore, NSW

Volunteer Koala Carers work closely with the koalas in care at our centre in East Lismore. Care shifts start at 1pm and usually finish around 4pm, depending on how many koalas are currently in care. A substantial part of this role is cleaning koala enclosures which includes; raking, scrubbing perches, hosing and sweeping.

Volunteer Koala Carers also replace leaf and water and make observations about the koalas. With dedication and appropriate training, our animal volunteers can assist with administering medications and supplements.

This role requires a moderate level of fitness and the ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions. For safety reasons, it is a requirement to wear a hat and sturdy closed-toe shoes. We also recommend wearing long pants and long sleeves for this role.

Koala Leafing Volunteers

Volunteers needed in Lismore, NSW

Our leaf harvesting volunteers learn how to identify the preferred koala food trees (KFTs) and harvest the amount required each day for koalas in care at our Koala Care and Research Centre. Koala Leafing Volunteers work in pairs and use our leafing van to collect leaf from our plantations.

This role requires a commitment of about 3 hours in the morning and involves a high level of fitness and the ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions. For safety reasons, it is a requirement to wear a hat and sturdy closed-toe shoes. We also recommend wearing long pants and long sleeves for this role.

volunteering Lismore | animal volunteer
volunteering lismore

Volunteer Koala Rescuers

Volunteers needed in Tweed Valley, Lismore, Byron Bay, Ballina, Kyogle & Richmond Valley

Volunteer Koala Rescuers respond to calls received via our Koala Rescue Hotline and attend to sick, injured or orphaned koalas across the Northern Rivers. The koala volunteer assesses the situation and, depending on their experience level, will then undertake the rescue or seek further help or advice from our Rescue Coordinator.

While essential equipment is provided, Koala Volunteer Rescuers need their own car and a valid driver’s licence. As this role is highly specialised, we recommend volunteers become a Volunteer Koala Carer first, so they can gain experience with koalas and understand the level of commitment required.

Volunteer Koala Rescue Hotline Operators

Remote volunteers needed (volunteering from home)

Do you want to help save koalas indoors? Our Volunteer Hotline Operators staff our 24/7 Rescue Hotline. Answering calls to 02 6622 1233, our operators record the information reported by the caller, provide appropriate advice to the public, and put the call out for nearby, appropriately trained volunteers.

Our hotline is transferable and would suit someone who wants to volunteer with koalas but does not want, or is not able to get physically involved with rescuing and caring.

Volunteer Hotline Operators require a Smart Phone and excellent access to Internet. They also need patience, a clear telephone voice and must enjoy talking to people from all backgrounds. Also, often callers may be distressed so a calm disposition is critical. Training is provided.

animal volunteer
animal volunteer

Native Plant Nursery Volunteers

Volunteering Lismore, NSW

Nursery Volunteers work in our native plant nursery located at our Koala Care and Research Centre in East Lismore. Tasks include weeding, propagating, and thinning native seedlings.

For safety reasons, it is a requirement to wear a hat and sturdy closed-toe shoes, we also recommend wearing long pants and long sleeves. Some lifting and standing for long periods may be required. You do not need any previous experience to volunteer, just a love of plants and the outdoors.

International and Interstate Volunteers

Volunteering Lismore, NSW

Outside of Covid-19, Friends of the Koala welcomes international and interstate volunteers anytime. Please note there are some basic criteria individuals need to meet before they are accepted into our volunteer program:

  • commitment to volunteering daily for a minimum of five days a week for four weeks with us
  • willingness to learn and assist in the various activities we offer from our Koala Care and Research Centre in East Lismore, NSW
  • your own accommodation
  • transport to and from the Care Centre each day, and
  • a commitment to the  FOK Code of Conduct.

To express your interest in volunteering with us, please email volunteercoord@friendsofthekoala.org.

animal volunteer

Other Volunteer Roles

Remote volunteering from home or office, worldwide

Do you want to volunteer to save koalas remotely? Are you willing to offer your professional skills or expertise to our cause?

In the past we have benefited from the pro bono help of marketeers, social media influencers/professionals, sales and fundraising professionals, recruiters, bookkeepers, receptionists, administrators, software engineers, consultants, video producers, and journalists to name a few!

If you have a skill which would be beneficial to us, please get in contact via volunteercoord@friendsofthekoala.org.

"It is truly humbling to witness such a passionate group of people, showing up tirelessly for koalas and displaying incredible resilience in the midst of devastating natural disasters and beyond."

- Silva Everaers, General Manager at Friends of the Koala

Volunteer FAQ

How do I become a volunteer?

Becoming a volunteer at Friends of the Koala is easy! Simply complete the application form and our Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch with you to arrange an induction session.

Can animal volunteers pat or hold koalas?

The koalas we work with are wild animals and cannot be picked up, handled and treated like captive born koalas.

What do I wear when I volunteer with koalas?

To ensure your safety when you volunteer with koalas, please wear a comfortable long sleeve shirt and trousers. We recommend you wear old work clothes. We also recommend strong safety work boots with protective toe caps. Covered shoes are essential.

Do volunteers receive training?

Some volunteer roles require volunteers to attend formal training prior to commencing in the role, while other volunteer roles may provide on-the-job training. Training is generally provided by Friends of the Koala.

How much time do I have to commit to my volunteering?

We have varying commitments for volunteering depending on whether you are Lismore or Nothern Rivers local, an interstate or international volunteer or a remote volunteer contributing your skills.

Interstate and international volunteering in Lismore

The minimum commitment for interstate and international travellers volunteering in Lismore is 4 weeks (volunteering 5 days a week).

Local Northern Rivers, Lismore volunteers

Most of our local volunteers’ volunteer on a regular basis, committing to 3-4 hours one day a week, depending on the role.

Remote volunteer roles

Do you have special skills that will help us in our mission to save koalas? Through the wonders of technology we can work with skilled volunteers worldwide.

Probration period

All new volunteers are required to participate in a two-month probationary period. This gives you the best possible opportunity to immerse yourself in the experience, as well as gain valuable feedback from our experienced supervisors.

What skills and characteristics do I need for volunteering in Lismore and remote volunteering??

There is no need for qualifications or industry specific experience for volunteering in Lismore. What we look for is motivation, confidence, a strong work ethic and a genuine desire to care for our koalas.

For volunteering in Lismore, you should be in good health and be reasonably fit.

For volunteering your skills remotely we assume you will already have a workable set up.

Either way please be prepared to take part to the best of your ability.

We ask all prospective volunteers to declare any medical conditions, allergies, disabilities or existing injuries that may affect participation. This will be discussed with you in a confidential manner.

When can I volunteer?

Friends of the Koala provides volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Koalas have a range of needs that do not stop in the holidays!




Who can apply to be a volunteer?

In order to become a volunteer with Friends of the Koala you must:

  • Be 18 years old or over
  • Be a member of Friends of the Koala
  • Undertake our volunteer training and agree to act in accordance with our Code of Conduct.
  • Have your own email address as this is how we communicate with our volunteers