Rangers program extended due to popular demand

January 22, 2022 BY

A handful of the participants taking part in the program these school holidays. Photo: SUPPLIED

A LONG-STANDING program at Jirrahlinga’s Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary has been extended by popular demand for the school holidays with more waitlists to be expected.

Jirrahlinga’s Junior Ranger program has been running for close to 15 years and each round of Rangers seems just as excited as the last, according to the wildlife centre.

The half-day program caters to children aged eight to 15 years of age, teaching them about local native animals.

In addition, participants get hands-on experience helping to maintain the animals’ enclosures and conduct general sanctuary duties with the help of the senior rangers.

“Due to popular demand, we have extended our summer program and it will run for majority of the school holidays including weekends,” Jirrahlinga’s assists director Jenny Wursthorn said.

“We recommenced our program earlier this month and it will run through until January 30, excluding Australia Day.”

Participants will receive morning tea, a Junior Rangers certificate, activities throughout the day with the keepers, and opportunities to take photos with the animals at the end of the session.

“The program sees the Junior Rangers get into little groups and focuses on the main point of having fun with these terrific animals,” Ms Wursthorn said.

“The educational purposes of the program are also a terrific factor of the Junior Rangers.

“If we can get the kids to have fun, but also take home some information about the animals too, then we have succeeded as a sanctuary.”

Ms Wursthorn also emphasised that kids from outside the Ocean Grove/Barwon Heads locale were more than welcome to join in on the fun these holidays, as did senior keeper Jack Gatto.

“I’m a firm believer that if you get someone to hold an animal and get up close with an animal, they’ll love it forever,” Mr Gatto said.

“We teach them about a tonne of a different topics such as habitat destruction, how diseases can affect the animals and how humans can have an impact on the environments the animals live in.

“So, it comes down to teaching things that many children had never considered before and
it’s crucial.”

Arrival time is 9am to fill in paperwork, with pick-up at 12.45pm sharp to get some photos, before the day wraps up.

There are limited numbers for the program, capped at 12 per day at $95 per person despite the program’s extension these school holidays, so available spots are expected to go quickly.

The second of two Junior Ranger programs at Jirrahlinga will take place during the Easter school holidays before 2023’s Rangers program begins.

To make your booking or for more information, phone Jirrahlinga’s office on 5254 2484.