Volunteer for Conservation
What we did for those two weeks was not so easy but it was truly meaningful. What I liked most about volunteering was getting to work in a unique environment that you wouldn’t have the chance to experience unless you were a volunteer. Most of the places we worked were deep in the mountains; so beautiful. Everyday we worked about five hours and the leaders would show us some beautiful and amazing places to visit on our time off.
Actually I didn’t know what to expect when deciding to volunteer in Australia at this conservation project, but at the end I can say that it was a great opportunity to grow up, to help the environment of Australia, to discover new cultures from all around the world. I will never forget this experience and the people that I met.
I enjoyed ranger days the most. On these days you were paired with a ranger and got to do everything they did. This included feeding, cleaning, and in some cases even treating the animals. There were so many animals at the park that it was so much to see every day. My favorite part was getting to know each animal and their story. Every animal at the park has a name and is looked after carefully. It was great because you weren’t just standing behind a fence looking at the animal you were in the enclosure handling and helping.
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.
Feeding the pandas was an unforgettable experience. The pandas would rush to the entrance of the cage and lumber up to the front. My favorite panda, Susan, would hold a bar for support as she ate. They were so receptive and excited to get their special panda bread and carrots, relishing every bite.
After becoming acquainted with our panda keeper and pandas, we started our first job. It was necessary to clean the cage, removing the bamboo leaves and other garbage. After that, we started to clean their enclosures... In addition, we feed the pandas twice a day with carrot and special bread (named ”panda cake”), and sometimes apples.
The weather was warm and sunny and we saw dolphins on our very first outing on the boat! It was so much fun seeing them in their natural habitat. The next day, we observed the data we collected by examining the pictures of the dolphins and matching them to the existing dolphins in the catalog.
Every other day, the entire team went out with the boat to observe and collect data of the dolphins near the coast. While documenting them, they put on a very entertaining show for us! The morning the day after, we all analyzed the data collected. Everyone worked together and helped each other out. During the project, I started to understand how serious this situation is for the dolphins. We could understand the dolphins on another level than before.
This trip was sincerely dreamlike. I loved every bit of it.The organism is really efficient and quick to answer when you have any questions. The trips from the airports and schools or to the projects are well organized so you don’t have to worry. The welcome from your local family is warm and kind. You will never lack anything with them.
My favorite survey was definitely the turtle surveys. I am currently going to school for Marine Biology so it was right up my ally! We would go to the different beaches on the island and look for fresh turtle tracks and crawls, as well as excavate turtle nests that had already hatched! We even came across a few nests that were emerging, as we were there which was incredible! They were literally bubbling up from the sand and the hatchlings of course crawled straight into the water!