This week is National Volunteer Week and while this year physical celebrations will not be possible, it is still an opportunity to celebrate the people in the community who volunteer their time, skills and knowledge to make a difference.
At Taronga Western Plains Zoo volunteers play a very important role across the site. Every year Zoo volunteers provide countless hours of their time to assist with a wide variety of roles that benefit both the animals and guests who visit the Zoo.
National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for organisations like Taronga Western Plains Zoo to recognise the role that volunteers play in the many aspects of the local community. It's a way to say thank you to all volunteers across various organisations and associations in the region, including the Zoo.
This year's National Volunteer Week theme is 'changing communities, changing lives' which is definitely the case for the Zoo community. Taronga Western Plains Zoo has over 100 volunteers and 40 Youth at the Zoo volunteers who assist with fulfilling a variety of functions including guiding the early morning walk experience, welcoming guests to the Zoo and providing visitor information, observing animal behaviour, creating enrichment items for animals, testing water quality as well as assisting with school holiday programs and overnight experiences.
"Volunteers are a valuable asset to any organisation and we are lucky to have such large number of dedicated and passionate volunteers at the Zoo," Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director, Steve Hinks said.
"The role of the volunteer is twofold, with benefits to the Zoo and the people that visit the Zoo as well as to each individual who volunteers. Volunteering is a rewarding part of many people's lives and our volunteers not doubt feel rewarded by contributing the conservation, education and making people's visit a special experience."
"Their contribution volunteers' make to the Zoo is enormous, and we are very thankful to our team of volunteers as they play such an integral role in our guests' experience."
The Zoo normally holds a special lunch for its volunteers as a thank you, however this year it won't be possible instead a virtual thank you is extended to our volunteers during this time.
Do you have something to say? We welcome your letters which may run in print and online.