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Taronga National Volunteer Week Awards recognise the achievements of our volunteers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to our organisational vision and values.

Below are our deserving winners for 2012!

B: Be supportive and enthusiastic

This award acknowledges volunteers who go above and beyond to support our people and show outstanding enthusiasm in the execution of their role.

Winner - Dinah Beeston 

Dinah Beeston - Volunteer

Dinah has been nominated twice in this category, volunteering in Guest Services as a coordinator and for the Taronga Foundation in just this last year Dinah was instrumental in helping Zoo Parent get through a very busy Christmas period, often staying back until the work was done, she has also worked hard to give all volunteers on her Guest Services day meaningful activities and makes great suggestions for improvements.

A long standing volunteer with a cheery disposition and hard work ethic, everything that Dinah does is always done to the highest standard. 


Highly Commended  - Alan Laithwaite

Alan has been described as a 'dream' volunteer by his peers as he is a constant delight to work with. 

Alan Laithwaite - Volunteer

People seem to be his passion, which with his engaging personality and encyclopedic knowledge of all things Taronga make him excellent in all aspects of his Volunteer role.

Alan is a willing and enthusiastic volunteer who makes himself available for extra tasks and performs them cheerfully.  Working in Guest Services he has been a mentor to new volunteers and also a trainer on Carnivore & Ungulate Knowledge, he is a fine example to trainees and new volunteers.


Highly Commended  - Courtney Morgans & Zara Bending

Courtney Morgans & Zara Bending - Volunteers

Dubbed the Dynamic Duo, Zara and Court achieve much more than you would normally expect from just two people. Taking on their role in Visitor Education/Community Conservation with huge enthusiasm these two have been involved in campaign research, development and evaluation through to data entry for conservation projects, making a huge contribution to their team.

A: Accept and take responsibility

This award recognises volunteers who go out of their way to accept and take responsibility which results in excellent customer service for our visitors and builds positive, strong relationships between our people.

Winner - Anna Dowe

Anna Dowe - Volunteer

 Anna is a valued member of the foundation team as well as volunteering in Guest Services.

She accepts responsibility readily and is accountable for her work. She is always looking for ways to improve the current systems and has recently re -ordered the way foundation manage Zoo Parent E-doptions to make it more time efficient.

An all round zoo supporter, she will help out other departments such as as Major Gifts and Corporate Partnerships  as well as always being the first to volunteer to help at any of our events – even though she is actually meant to be a guest at them!

Highly Commended - Pauline Gibbs


Pauline is an excellent Guest Services coordinator volunteering in this role almost every Monday, her leadership, incredible organisation skills and supportive manner ensures all Monday volunteers & zoo guests have the best experience possible. 

Pauline can be counted on to help no matter what situation arises, her team consider her a pleasure to work along side.

Pauline Gibbs - Volunteer









S: Show dignity and respect

This award pays tribute to volunteers who are committed to being honest, accountable, and transparent and who treat each person as they expect to be treated.

Winner - Mary O’Dwyer

Mary O'Dwyer - Volunteer

Mary is a long serving volunteer, volunteering with the education committee helping new volunteers learn about Taronga and prepare for their role and as a coordinator in Guest Services.

Mary has a cheery demeanour, friendliness and thorough work ethic, she ensures volunteers are given a variety of interesting jobs and is quick to identify any potential issues. 

By maintaining a high standard of honesty, accountability and transparency she embodies Dignity & Respect.


Highly Commended - Helen Kidd

Helen Kidd - Volunteer2


Helen is an excellent coordinator in the Guest Services team, however, she is receiving this award for her wonderful way of interacting with zoo guests. 


Informative, friendly and approachable Helen is always willing to assist in any way she can. She is a wonderful example of a Taronga Volunteer



I: Innovate and take initiative

This award highlights volunteers who stand out from the crowd because of their willingness to use their initiative or embrace changes that will lead to the realisation of our Vision.

Winner -BSU Enrichment Team -Dick Gall, Alan Hind, Colin Giller and Fred Peterson

This group of four are part of a larger team of BSU volunteers who have been instrumental in creating environmental enrichment for many of the animals at Taronga.

This smaller team have perfected the craft of creating hammocks – as seen on TV being tested by primate keeper Richard Buzas!  They have worked, often with few materials or equipment to create challenging and interesting enrichments.  They remain interested, hard working and intrigued about how they can enrich the next animal.

 Highly Commended - Andrea Turner


Andrea Turner - Volunteer


Andrea Volunteers in the learning Centre assisting with our Zoomobile outreach program.  Operations can be tedious and complicated at times, however no issue is ever too difficult for Andrea to solve.


Her work ethic, professionalism and skills have been essential in ensuring the smooth running administration, her commitment to the zoo and it’s vision are an asset and her positive presence is truly appreciated by her colleagues.






C: Clear and simple

This award celebrates those volunteers that are committed to finding effective, creative, clear and simple ways of carrying out their role.

Winner - Sally Latkich

Sally Latkich - Volunteer


Sally is an invaluable member of the carnivore team.

A quiet worker who completes all her tasks to a high standard and is still constantly striving to improve.

She shows great initiative and will happily complete tasks that she knows need doing, before being asked and is also helpful in making work experience students feel welcome.

Highly Commended -  Jordan Michelmore

Jordan Michelmore - Volunteer




Jordan can best be described as having only a positive outlook life!


No task is any problem and Jordan will not only take on any task given but will ensure it is completed to the highest standard.  The Marine Mammals team trust when they give Jordan a task she will be able to complete it with minimal supervision.


Her positive and friendly nature are a pleasure to have in a team environment.




  Honourable Mention - Visitor Tracking Team 2012

This group of volunteers came in on top of their regular volunteer duties and were from across the zoo, there were ‘old hands’ and a few who were tracking on their very first day!

No matter the experience level, all the Volunteers - without fail – threw themselves into tracking with good humour, passion and support for the project. Many volunteers showed great initiative, proactively starting the tracks once trained and even doing multiple tracks on one day – that shows commitment!

At the end of the project 120 tracks were completed – around half by volunteers.   While we were unable to give them all an award, they certainly deserve a thank you and round of applause.