||Ashleigh started volunteering with the Marine Mammal department in September 2012, having previously completed a placement on the division for her TTI studies.
Ash arrives early and launches into tasks with enthusiasm and good cheer. She has a real interest in the work and is constantly seeking opportunities to improve, gain a greater understanding of keeping practices and learn new skills.
Ashleigh’s enthusiasm for the role was punctuated recently when she had to miss a volunteer day for family reasons (her only day missed), but was keen to swap it for another day if that would help us out and apologised profusely for any inconvenience caused.
All in all, Ash is a bubbly personality to have around and is enthusiastc with whatever task is asked of her, regardless of how trivial it may seem.
||Clerinda is a very enthusiastic volunteer who will give a 100% effort into every task offered.
Clerinda is also our first volunteer to be offered the TTI scholarship because of her commitment and attitude to our work place.
She leads by example every week and never hesitates to work alongside others.
During this year we have had many frog conservation projects , in which we have had her assist us , due to her eagerness to learn and her accountability.
Our volunteers spend many an hour down in the Live Breeding Unit and Clerinda never complains, she is most happy to head down and assist no matter how long it takes or how often she has to go down.
We here at Herpetofauna value her contribution she makes to our department .
||Di Scott is a regular volunteer on the Australian Fauna Precinct Inside Mammals team. Primarily assisting in the nocturnal house, Di is an extremely dedicated and hard working volunteer with excellent observation skills.
Recently, Di has taken up a role within Guest Services. When rostered on to work on her regular volunteer days, Di assists the keepers in her usual volunteer capacity in the morning before changing her uniform and commencing her guest services shift. This is an example of her dedication to both the animals and the team.
Di has great attention to detail and reports any interesting or abnormal animal observations to the supervising keepers. She also asks questions to help develop her own knowledge of Australian Fauna.
Di regularly brings in browse, particularly grass tussocks that are put to great use in the nocturnal house.
Di represents the TCSA vision well and goes out of her way to assist zoo visitors and improve their day.
||Learning & Experience
||In the words of a recent winning nomination for the whole Dino Implementation Team:
The Dinosaur event was an amazingly successful collaboration of teams across the zoo to result in an experience that had crowds flocking to the zoo and taking away great messages about wildlife and conservation. The key players in the implementation project team showed how amazing results can be achieved through enthusiasm, and support for each other and achieving a great outcome.
The truth is Taronga couldn’t have done nearly such a spectacular job without the amazing and resourceful team of volunteer Dinosaurs Guides. So many of the especially recruited volunteers went well beyond the call of duty to give visitors the best possible experiences.
With the special Dinosaurs in the Wild exhibition Taronga was hoping to increase visitation over the summer period by offering an unusual and innovative opportunity to our regular visitors while also enticing others who aren’t our usual visitors to come along.
Given some of the challenges of the site and the busy summer crowds Taronga decided to recruit, train and deploy about 40 new short-term volunteers. This has some great results:
• 445,000 visitors came to see the Dinosaurs, making it the busiest Nov-Jan period ever – or at least since Giant Pandas years and years ago!
• ~40 great new volunteers from new demographics and with different aspirations – many are keen to or have converted to longer term volunteers in a variety of roles.
• Visitors reminded of the eastern or “Australian” side of the Zoo, and they loved it!
• Positive networking with Australian Museum when groups of volunteers visited each other’s sites.
• Several of the volunteer Dinosaur Guides supported Dream Night, Zoo Friends Shopping Night and other special activities during the period.
They embraced their inner palaeontologist – even when they didn’t really know a Brachiosaurus from a Tyrannosaurus to start with – and joined Taronga 1-2 days per week from the middle of October all the way through to early February.
Many also expanded their experiences, pushed their own boundaries by stepping up to make a public presentation, always with the support of their talented leaders, the Dinosaur Keepers (aka Discovery Hosts Leanne Hayter; Gillian Markham and Mel Betland).
All in all the volunteer Dinosaur Guides embraced their roles by engaging our many visitors, who came in all shapes and sizes, with stories of dinosaurs and their companion animals, while doing a little security on the side.
||German has been volunteering with the Bird Team for over 2 years – and we have loved every second of having him a welcome part of our team.
German has all the qualities we could ask for in a volunteer – reliable, dependable, punctual, capable, flexible. He turns up with a smile and commences his morning routine without any need of instruction. During the day he catches on quickly to any task he is assigned, and we can always be assured that the quality of completion will be high. He is always looking to expand his knowledge of birds outside of his volunteer hours, with a keen interest in the animal sciences.
But more than this, German is a positive energy amongst the team. He is always smiling, laughing and genuine – and we would like him to know that he is very much appreciated!!!
||Ian Maynard continues to assist the media relations team each Friday with the significant flow of fundraising requests received from the Sydney community. By assisting with these requests in a timely and efficient manner the Taronga brand is well represented at these events which are all about community and charity support.
During this time he also manages to answer the general media phone line and filters emails among the media officers.
His manor in dealing with media is always calm and professional. By taking messages and receiving these calls it frees up the media team who are working on statements, updates and online content to keep the media and community informed appropriately.
There would not be many people we could place in Ian’s chair during these situations as factual correctness and seeing through the questions sometimes asked by media to get an inside scoop is no easy task. Ian does it flawlessly.
||Behavioural Studies Unit
||Jacki arrives for her duties each day with a big smile and infectious enthusiasm for any task she is given to complete. Jacki lifts the spirits of all those working around her with her extensive knowledge, love of the zoo and willingness to complete any job, however mundane, with a joyful attitude. Jacki is a pleasure to work with each Thursday and an asset to the Behavioural Studies Unit.
||Janet has a good understanding of how the primate section works and the different rounds, she will often ask how she can help and we know we can set her a task and it will be completed properly and independently.
||Jo attends the zoo every Wednesday and ensures that all volunteers are supported with the correct supervision and effort. Jo is always enthusiastic.
||Joan Switzer certainly deserves recognition for all of the help she has given to Zoo Friends over the years.
Every Monday she turns up at 9am on the dot, willing to help with any of the many tasks we have waiting for her – this could include:
• Folding and enveloping thousands of renewal and reactivation forms that Zoo Friends send out every month. This makes sure that our members receive their renewal information well before their membership expires giving them plenty of time to renew.
• Another task which Joan has helped us with is the never ending filing, as you can imagine with over 70,000 Zoo Friends members there is an amazing amount of paperwork. Joan has spent countless hours helping us to file and organize this which is priceless when you have to suddenly look for a member’s form and it can be located immediately.
• Joan has also shredded countless bagfuls of paper for the chimps!
• And when we need extra help, a quick phone call to Joan and she will organise herself to come in as soon as she can.
All of the assistance that Joan gives to the Zoo Friends team ensures that the Membership Officers have more time to focus on the important task of looking after our potential and existing members.
Joan is always cheerful and nothing is ever too much to ask of her.
We know in the Zoo Friends office that Joan is definitely an invaluable member of our team.
||Marion's dedication to her role is simply outstanding! She is a continuous source of support to the zoofriends team and is so enthusiastic even Christmas couldn't keep her away. We know we can always count on Mation to get the job done quickly & perfectly every time, even though they are often mundane tasks. Marion is an invaluable member of our team & always a pleasure to work with.
||Mark is the epitome of a true volunteer. His work man ship is second to none.
Mark goes above and beyond everything we ask of him; he is a great asset to our team and to the Zoo.
His maturity and reliability stands him very high among fellow team members, with this we use Mark in our Coroborree frog conservation program, where he has minimal supervision due to his diligence, initiative and reliability.
Michael Mc Fadden uses Mark to asssit him in the frog containers on a regular basis.
Mark has also been used to teach staff and volunteers of special duties needed with our frog work
No task is too large or too small for him and he is always offering more and ensures his task is complete before leaving each day.
He communicates very effectively and professionally at all times.
Mark has gained a high respect here in Herpetofauna.
We see Mark as a keeper of the future and believe Mark could be a candidate for all 5 categories.
||Meghan is an extremely competent and enthusiastic individual. Whilst visiting Australia (Meghan is originally from Canada), Meghan first approached the Bird Show team after watching one of our shows and based on that experience undertook every step necessary to become one of our volunteers. This meant returning back to Canada for a number of months prior to starting with us!
During her time at Bird Show Meghan excelled in all tasks delegated to her to a high standard, contributed to training discussion and positively added to the team culture. Meghan was deemed so competent she was even trained in the handling of some of our show birds, an opportunity offered only to volunteers that demonstrate skill, confidence and enthusiasm.
Meghan has now finished volunteering with Bird Show, but is now volunteering with the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, of which she has our full support. It was a hard decision for Meghan to make, but we agreed (although we dreaded the thought of her leaving) that the different experience would benefit her and place her in a better position for casual work. We sincerely hope to work with Meghan again in the future and wish her every success.
||Pauline continues to show such great processionalism re her role as Monday's volunteer coordinator. Her latest initiative is selling of the $3 volunteer tours, which she and the team are going "gang-busters" and easily earn more in tours than the rest of the week combined.
||Peter Harding is a regular volunteer on the Australian Fauna Precinct. He is always enthusiastic and motivated and assists keepers wherever required. He has contributed to many large scale and ongoing projects, especially in the nocturnal house. He routinely assists keepers with browse collection which has improved the work efficiencies of the team, fulfils husbandry and enrichment needs and improves exhibit aesthetics. He has excellent communication skills and works well with the keeping team.
Peter’s commitment to his role as volunteer is outstanding. He is always at the ready to assist and goes about a task with minimum fuss. He readily asks questions and gives advice or feedback from an objective perspective.
Peter utilises every moment of his volunteer day to assist keepers in achieving the objectives of both the AFP inside mammals team and the TCSA.
||Taronga Wildlife Hospital
||Bec is a fantastic and very enthusiastic volunteer since she started volunteering at the TWH .
Bec works well and is very supportive in all her tasks with all the staff on the division be it a keeping task or helping in the reception area of the wildlife hospital.
She goes about her tasks with a huge smile and 110% enthusiasm and a great laugh and lots of knowledge.
Bec is much loved by the staff and we are always happy to see her first this on a Monday morning to start off the working week.
||Tom has a good understanding of how the section works and the different rounds. Often asks how he can help and we are able to set him a task and know that it will be completed properly and independently.