15 May 2013
This week celebrates National Volunteer Week, Australia's largest celebration of volunteering. Today there are over 6 million people volunteering annually in Australia, representing 36% of the adult population. National Volunteer Week aims to recognise the invaluable contribution each individual provides by offering their time, skills and passion, continuing to demonstrate Australia's proud culture of giving.
At Australia Zoo we welcome volunteers from all walks of life who help out with both our animal and customer relations sections, and we'd like to say "Thanks A Million" to all of them, past and present, whose enthusiastic, dependable, friendly and professional qualities make them such an integral part of our organisation. Although they may not be jumping crocs or lounging with tigers, they still get to hang out with heaps of our other amazing animals; it's a fun and rewarding way to spend your free time in the best office in town!
People volunteer for many different reasons, from work experience for school or uni to learn what it's like to be a zoo keeper, to gain experience to further their careers or just for the personal satisfaction of their efforts; there are many benefits to volunteer work. It's a great way to show potential employers that you are hard-working and dedicated to giving back to the community. Specifically here at Australia Zoo you'll also be making a contribution to conservation and you'll learn heaps more about the animals themselves.
Meet two of our awesome Volunteers
Started volunteering: November 2004 in Customer Relations
I was born and grew up in the Herbert River Valley at the small sugar milling town of Macknade. I spent most of my working life in various sections of the sugar industry, with the last 32 years at Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal. The last 16 years of this I operated the offshore gantry ship loader, loading overseas ships with raw sugar.
My favourite animal at the Zoo is Acco, the largest crocodile. I feel proud of Acco as we both are past residents of the Herbert River district. I grew up with an older generation who advocated shooting these creatures, and after volunteering here now I realize how unique they are and how important it is for them to be protected. I decided to join the volunteer program after hearing a guest speaker from the Zoo talk at our Probus Club meeting.
Started volunteering: January 2010
At a young age I became interested in horses and after many years of annoying my parents, at age 9 they finally gave in and bought me my first horse. I consider myself lucky to have grown up with horses, I especially loved spending my weekends training and showing them.
Volunteering at Australia zoo has been the best experience for me and I would encourage anyone to get involved. I appreciate being around all of the beautiful animals at the zoo, but I do have a favourite; the six gorgeous Echidnas! The Zoo staff are great to work with and very helpful, I've learnt so much already from their knowledge and dedication to the animals. At the moment I volunteer at the Zoo one day a week, but one day I hope to be employed and work fulltime with the Native Mammals Department.
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