21 Feb Volunteering with koalas, rewarding in more ways than one
For over three decades, Friends of the Koala have rescued, rehabilitated, and released countless koalas, however the fluffy, grey marsupials are not the only ones that have found refuge in the groups vital work.
Over 5,000 people have volunteered with the organisation, over its 35-year history. While many have gained valuable skills and experience from volunteering and transitioned to paid employment, others have found volunteering has enriched their lives, benefitting them emotionally, socially and mentally.
“When I first joined Friends of the Koala in 2017, I was suffering from PTSD and depression and had withdrawn from the world around me” said volunteer Lindy Brown.
“I became besotted by koalas and the work I was doing. Looking back, I realise volunteering was keeping my grief at bay, by shifting my focus to a cause bigger than myself – it really has saved my life”.
Since joining the organisation, Lindy has volunteered in multiple roles and now sits on the Management Committee and is one of Friends of the Koalas key rescuers, joey carers and shift supervisors.
Volunteers make up the majority of Friends of the Koala’s workforce and are engaged across the organisation in habitat restoration, koala rescue and rehabilitation, nursery, leaf collection in addition to management and advocacy.
Thanks to the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, Friends of the Koala received funding through the NSW Wildlife Hero’s Q Fever Vaccination Grant program. While the risk of contracting Q-Fever from koalas is relatively low, it is welcomed relief to Lindy and another 5 key people in the organisation who received the vaccination and work closely with the over 350 koalas Friends of the Koala tend to each year.