Saving injured and sick animals and returning them to their natural habitat is a typical day for Charles Sturt student volunteer Ms Mikayla Green. She encourages other students to donate their time during National Student Volunteer Week (Monday 9 to Sunday 15 August).
It takes a special person to volunteer time to care for sick or injured animals, but a Charles Sturt University student is up to the challenge.
Third-year Bachelor of Animal Science student in Wagga Wagga Ms Mikayla Green hopes to have a career in wildlife conservation and ecology.
She has complemented her studies with her volunteer work, opting to donate her time to animal rescue organisation WIRES.
Ms Green is involved in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, taking animals to the vet, feeding, and other husbandry activities.
“Calls come in for a variety of wildlife-related reasons such as injury, sickness and orphaning,” she said.
“A typical day varies depending on which animals get called in, what assistance they need, and how many animals are in our care.”
Originally from Rangiora, New Zealand, Ms Green started volunteering with WIRES to improve her knowledge of Australian wildlife.
The experience has allowed her to care for a range of animals, including birds, possums, echidnas and kangaroo joeys.
“Volunteering with WIRES has improved my wildlife identification and handling skills as well as allowing me to make a difference to the welfare of wildlife here in Australia,” she said.
Ms Green wants to mitigate the extinction of Australia’s mammals, including one of her favourite animals, the echidna, either through wildlife management or more research-based projects.
She will commence her Honours project on Greater Gliders in Woomargama National Park in 2022, focusing on the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on the Greater Glider population.
Ms Green said the best part about volunteering is seeing orphaned or injured animals make a full recovery and be released back into the wild.
But she said it is not always a happy outcome, with uncertainties and not being able to save every animal, despite the best efforts of those involved.
National Student Volunteer Week runs from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 August.
The initiative, which was started by Volunteering Queensland, acknowledges student volunteers while encouraging young people to volunteer across the country.
Ms Green encourages other Charles Sturt students to get involved with community groups in their areas.
“I encourage other students to get involved in volunteering as it enables you to get some hands-on experience in a field of work that you enjoy,” she said.
Ms Green said working with a range of people, making connections in your chosen field and learning new skills is beneficial to improving personal communication and organisation.