WWOOF Australia: Day 1

In the spirit of this summer being about risk-taking and adventure, I chose to WWOOF in Australia. For those not familiar with WWOOF, it is an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Basically, you are given food and accommodations in exchange for farm labor. In addition, you are given a wealth of knowledge of how farms operate and how to incorporate sustainable practices into your daily life.

As someone whose experience is mainly in the corporate sector, me wanting to do this may come as a surprise. Especially because I own more handbags, shoes, and makeup than I can count – I am a “girly girl” who enjoys luxury and I don’t care who knows! However, I am deeply passionate about animals and would much prefer being in the country than in the city all the time. I also care about my environmental footprint and you will find me recycling everywhere I go. With a month away in Australia, I thought now would be the best time for me to take up the farming trade.

Side note: July and August are the winter months so I advise NOT coming in these months! I had little choice in the matter. 40-50F degree nights here aren’t bad to handle for a Bostonian like me though.

Now, let’s get to today’s activities:

Clean up wallaby poop. Someone has to clean them up! The poops are quite small but you have to develop an eye for them because they can blend in.

I don’t mind cleaning up for these babies, especially since they are so cute and it’s so important to their health! Too much poop/bacterial exposure could cause fatal disease.

Prepare and weigh milk powder for baby kangaroos.¬†With milk, it’s important to mention that kangaroos are lactose intolerant! If they have milk like we do, they will go blind. This special powder is similar in smell and texture to Similac that human moms use to feed babies, but is totally different!

The babies are currently taking 500g per bottle feeding, so a scale is necessary to measure (bottom right below container).

Pick grass for wallaby’s. Small wallaby’s have milk like kangaroo’s but the older ones like to munch on yummy grass. I am to pick grass from the bush nearby, every day or two.

Ruby is showing me how high she can stand. She is so sweet, but can be very naughty. She loves nibbling on my shoes.

Cuddle kangaroos. Since these babies are apart from their moms – they are either injured and/or orphaned at the farm – they mainly spend their days in a cloth pouch and held close. This mimics the pouch that mom kangaroos have. The babies who want to exit the pouch cannot walk properly and mainly rely on mom to keep them close.

Not the best photo but earlier in the day when I took this, they still weren’t used to me. They are still learning my smell. You can tell how Jirra at left is in a little sack, cozy with pillows.

All in all, I learned a lot today about farm life and Australian wildlife care – much more than this post is covering. However, in the days ahead I hope to share some of the most exciting parts of this experience.

I will learn more about the wildlife on the farm which includes kangaroos, wallaby’s, chickens, a variety of birds including a a 65-year-old cockatoo, an echidna, platypus, and wombats. I will also learn about composting/how to create rich soil, and how to care for gardens.

I am very much outside of my comfort zone, but loving the lessons I am learning so far.