Walkabout Warriors - People Helping Wildlife

There are many ways you can help.

Do you love working with people? We need "people people". Yes we work with animals and we are "animal people", but we have to be people people too. Animals need people, and we need each other.

For our Community Volunteers (programs for everyone) shift lengths vary, usually around 4 hours. There are many different types of activity, from helping in our gift shop to doing repairs and maintenance, and helping to prepare food for the animals.

For our Vocational Volunteers (TAFE and UNI students studying towards a career caring for animals) each shift is from 8am to 5pm. 

We are just launching our new Walkabout Volunteer Community Platform so you may not see all the opportunities yet, but we will add them to this platform over the coming weeks.

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General Interests

Animal Husbandry TAFE+UNI students

This program usually requires that you also be studying animal care or bioscience at TAFE or UNI, or that you have completed your studies. We occasionally accept "non-students" depending on other criteria including experience and abilities. This is the only area where volunteers must commit to 2 shifts every week.

Helping in our gift shop

Are you a people person? Would you like to join our (indoor) visitor engagement team? This role is mainly in our gift shop, but does extend to assisting reception staff with their tasks. Main gift shop tasks include organising shop displays, stacking fridges, cleaning shelves, doing stock-takes, helping visitors select gifts, making up animal feed bags, and general cleaning of visitor amenities.

Wild Watcher (of Animal Activity)

This is a leisurely but vital job. You monitor an animal's activity on a e-tablet using ZooMonitor*, a really simple but clever way of collecting behavioural data to give us insights into animal behaviour so we can make better decisions for their welfare. ZooMonitor is only available to us because we are an accredited** animal sanctuary.
*Developed by Lincoln Park Zoo, The Institute of Museum and Library Services and Tracks Software
** We are accredited by ZAA (Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia)

General maintenance

We don't have a maintenance team, just our Director (Gerald) with whatever help he can get. We have a tiny team of occasional volunteers to help, otherwise it's usually Gerald on his own, or with help from the rangers. There are always things that need to be fixed. We do have to make do, rather than buy new, so this work is endless. And sometimes we build new things. If you're handy with tools and want to help and enjoy a sometimes slightly chaotic (at least, for the maintenance crew,) workplace, we need you.

Kangaroo and emu roundup

The roundups are 3 times per day, at 10am, 1pm and 4pm. We start getting ready for them half an hour before the start. We get out the brooms and clean their feeding areas thoroughly, collect up their lucerne and pellets, get them to follow us "walkabout" to their feeding area, talk to the visitors about the different types of macropods and the emus, and then, when they're done, clean up again (we have to clean where they eat so they don't get sick).

Welcoming visitors

We have a scripted welcome which includes a safety briefing (safety for animals as well as people) for every guest who visits us. It only takes 2 minutes, but has to be repeated for every person entering our wildlife sanctuary. This welcome has been carefully honed over 20 years to ensure people understand what they need to do (and not do) to respect our animals' free-ranging lives and share the space with the animals on the animals' terms.

Preparing the animals' food

Every day, we spend between 2 and 4 hours preparing food for the animals. Each species has its own "menu card". Every species is different. Counting all the birds, reptiles, mammals and frogs in our care, we have to prepare a balanced diet for over 250 animals (more than 60 species).

We do 3 kinds of food prep - Dry foods (grains and grasses), Meat (for our carnivores and omnivores), and Fruit & Vegetables. As well as chopping food, weighing it out and defrosting what's needed, we also have to manage the stores.

Three times a week we do "food sort" - this takes up to 2 hours - where we sort the donated foods we pick up from Coles and Woolworths, separate out what the animals need from the foods they can't eat, do "stock rotation" in our walk-in fridge and freezer, and store and label the food.

And then, of course, is the cleaning. Washing dishes, cleaning the store shelves and the food prep tables, mopping the floor, and packing everything away (until the next day). 

We really need your help!

Making kangaroo transport bags

We need to make big strong catch-up bags for kangaroos and wallabies. We hope we'll never need them, but we must have them in case we do. If we have to transport kangaroos in an emergency, we "pouch" them as if they were joeys. For a 20kg to 40kg kangaroo, they need big very strong bags - and they have to be easy to breathe through. So there is an art to designing and making them.

Guest education talks and walks

We are planning to trial a "hop-on-hop-off" walkabout to introduce the visitors to our sanctuary. Some walkabouts will be about our animals and their stories. Other walkabouts may be bushwalks along the tracks, looking at the trees and the bugs and all the wild drama that is often invisible if you don't stop and look for it. You don't need to be an expert (our rangers can answer visitors' more technical questions). You just need to like people, be fascinated by the world around us, and tell a good story.

Weeding enclosures and the bush

Weed control is an ongoing problem for us. There are some particularly nasty non-Australian weeds that are dangerous for our animals, so getting rid of them is an ongoing priority. If you like to spend time in the bush, with gentle animals around to keep you company, you may want to help us with weed control. Our resident volunteer ecologist Dom will give you the necessary training to remove the weeds safely (safely for people and animals). 

Hot chips and kitchen-care

We're keen to reopen our (very basic) kitchen for visitors. The main request is for hot chips. Pre covid, we were renown for serving up the best hot chips in Australia (at least, that's what people told us). The problem with serving hot chips, is keeping the fryers and the kitchen counters clean. Demand fluctuates wildly, so it on some days we serve none at all, while on busy holidays the demand can be constant. Would you like to hang out in our visitor center, talk to guests, and make hot chips (oh yes, and clean up afterwards)?

Track care and maintenance

Our 5km of bush tracks and trails are constantly being affected by wild nature and people. Tree branches grow across the tracks, weeds emerge, roots get exposed as the ground wears away, the edging logs get eaten by termites, people drop litter, and bins need to be emptied. Keeping our tracks in good repair is pretty physical, and very satisfying. 

Fox-proof fence checking

We check our 3km perimeter fence every day to make sure it is doing its job of keeping our animals safe. The walk is mostly flat, but there is one steep rocky climb that is a bit awkward to get up. We check the power is on and working. We check for erosion and diggings at the base. We check for tree branches leaning against the fence. We check for weeds affecting the integrity of the apron. We check for gradual wear and tear as well as sudden damaging events (especially after storms). We do minor repairs while we are out there, and schedule in the bigger work with the maintenace crew.

Animals' washing and laundry

We use old towels and doonas for many of our animals, as well as cloths for cleaning and special bags for babies. We do between 3 and 10 loads of washing every day. We machine wash, hang it out on the line, bring it in, sort it and pack it away. Can you help with this?

Housekeeping cabins & campsite

We don't have a cleaning crew. Our rangers prepare cabins for our overnight guests, make beds, do the laundry, and all the fun housekeeping stuff. We'd love to have some help so we can keep the pressure of cleaning people's accommodation and laundry off the rangers, so they can focus on cleaning the animals' accommodation and laundry. Guests staying overnight, in cabins and the bunkhouse, are a very important income source for our animals. 

Mission Statement

To be the place where people go to step into the animals' world and connect with country. Connecting with Country is how we, as people, understand and fulfill our responsibilities to care for all things. Earth. Animals. People. Plants. Water. Fire. Air. Past. Present. Future. Physical. Spiritual.