The leaders, who change each year, possess a diverse range of skills and experience, from outdoor and environmental education, youth work, conservation, and environmental science. Wollangarra staff hit the ground running from when they arrive in January, completing several months of extensive training, which includes Wilderness First Aid, Bronze Medallion (swimming supervision), four wheel driving, safe food handling, chainsaw operations, hiking, camping, and navigation, defensive driving, how to live remotely and in a small community, and so much more.
Leaders volunteer their time for a year in the mountains, working hard and demonstrating simple living. They provide quality leadership and education to the hundreds of young people who attend Wollangarra programs each year. They are the backbone of Wollangarra.
Wollangarra leaders are normally recruited between September and December each year. If you think you might be interested in applying for this once in a lifetime opportunity, then we recommend visiting for a week as a volunteer on a program, or coming to one of our regular work party weekends. Feel free to call us at the Homestead to have a chat about what it’s all about.
The 2020 staff
Isabel (also Iz, or Izzy) is a bit of a newbie to Wollangarra! Originally from Voorburg, a town of about 30.000 people in the Netherlands, she arrived in Australia two years ago and is very excited for the year ahead. After finishing her masters in Biomedical science through Utrecht (NL) and Kyoto (Japan) Universities, she was a researcher in the field of neurobiology for a few years, but four years ago decided to exchange the life of microscopes and pipettes for that of the great outdoors. Travelling solo through Canada, Iceland, Northern Europe, Asia and New Zealand, she did 2.5 years of volunteer work through WWOOF and HelpX programs, mostly on small non-commercial farms, a bit of hospitality work, and plenty of travel. Wandering through beautiful landscapes, meeting inspiring and wonderful people, she finally set foot in the Land Down Under two years ago. She spent most of her time in Tasmania and Gippsland, to hike, camp, work, and enjoy the Aussie slang and wonderful wildlife, nature, and people. Following her interest in everything biology and outdoors, a host family connected her to the fabulous world of Woll! After visiting the flat for the first time, the decision was easily made to go for the position of outdoor leader 2020, and now here we are, yay! Isabel will be spending a lot of time in the garden, with the chooks and ducks and exploring this wonderful part of the world. She is looking forward to the exciting year on the flat and in the high country with her fellow staff team and getting to know everyone involved in this beautiful community on the Macalister.
Fergus spent a lot of time in his teen years doing programs as a young person at Wollangarra on stage 2’s and 3’s, after finishing school he moved away from Phillip Island to Newry and started work as a farm hand and milker on a dairy farm. In his free time he likes to read a lot, go on adventures and ride his motorbike. Fergus is really excited to do lots of hard work and try to give something back to the community that’s done so much for him.
Leonard (or Lenny) has been hanging around Woll like a bad smell since his stage I in late 2015. Falling in love with the outdoors and the magical place that is Wollangarra, Leonard has gone on to attend over 20 programs across the three stages and 15 work parties to date, and he’s pretty excited to expand on those numbers this year! He was heavily involved in the stage 3 committee prior to becoming staff this year. The youngin of the team at 18 years old, Leonard completed year 12 in 2019 and is excited to spend a year up at woll before starting his tertiary studies. He loves hiking, being surrounded by nature, coins, science, and most importantly laughing frequently. Leonard is looking forward to the year ahead, bound to be filled with great people, challenges, and adventure
Olivia has spent the last 3 years in Warrnambool studying Marine Biology and following her passion for conservation and wildlife . Whilst at Uni she split her working hours between City Council dealing with waste management and the Green Army doing conservation work for the Orange Bellied Parrot. During a brief intermission between university and Woll she worked in the Yarra Valley leading segway tours and other outdoor team building activities.
In her spare time Liv spends as much time as possible in the outdoors, whether it be climbing, hiking or just wandering. Olivia is a fresh face to Wollangarra but has quickly fallen in love with the community and ethos and can’t wait to spend this year learning new things and being surrounded by amazing people.
Born in Tasmania to a Yank and an Aussie, Chelsea grew up in the heart of the US. At 20, she moved back to Australia, to spend time with extended family on the gorgeous Atherton Tablelands. Chelsea then headed to Melbourne to get her BSc (Honours) in Ecology & Conservation/Zoology, chasing her love of wildlife and the great outdoors. Since graduation, she’s embarked on a rollercoaster of conservation gigs in Thailand (cobras!) and Australia (tree kangaroos, skinks and bees, amongst other things!). She has also worked as a Ranger in the US and, most recently, New Zealand. Though she loved New Zealand, Chelsea was immediately intrigued when she heard about a job opening at Wollangarra. The philosophy resonated with her and the more she found out, the more she wanted to know. One night, she ran up to a South Island spur from her field camp to get enough reception to ring up the Woll homestead. By the time the call was finished, the sun had set and Chelsea had – like so many others – fallen under the spell of Wollangarra. So, another hop over the ocean and then a drive down from Queensland found Chelsea at the front gates of Woll. She is delighted to be here, supported by a fantastic staff team, council and community.