Volunteering in Australia – Gaining a Greater Understanding

Posted by: Abby

I left America with an open mind and hopeful of the project I was about to attend. The project would be at the Wild Animal Sanctuary project in Gosford, NSW; a couple hours north of Sydney. My only expectation was to gain a greater understanding of wildlife conservation.

Upon arrival to the Sydney airport the volunteers were escorted by a  representative to our hostel where would stay the next couple of days. The first three days of the program took place in Sydney, as our coordinator showed the volunteers around Sydney and filled us in on the history and customs in Australia. Along our tour we visited the Sydney Opera House, Botanical Gardens, a couple different museums and took a ferry ride to Darling Harbour.

On the fourth morning the volunteers took a train to Gosford station where we met the owner of the sanctuary and made our first visit. The fourth day included an orientation on the park and animals we would be taking care of. The next morning started our volunteering work.

Throughout the next two and a half weeks I spent at the park I helped on both a ranger team and a work team. The ranger team meant that a volunteer would help one of the rangers with the daily activities to service animals. The activities ranged from cleaning enclosures, feeding animals, doing health checks, preparing food for later feeds and any extra care the animals may need (for instance, some of the snakes needed to be bathed to assist with shedding or help with mites).

On the work teams the volunteers helped assist with any labor that needed to be done in the park. We did work including clearing the woods, building fences and changing animal enclosures.

My experience at the Wild Animal Sanctuary project was great. I acquired a greater understanding of the love and effort that goes into caring for injured, abandoned and free-roaming wildlife.