HAYLEY

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés


How would you describe your personality and lifestyle?

I would say I’m warm, nurturing and down to earth. I feel like I’m always on the move - I’ve been called a gypsy by my friends; to me it’s just how life keeps turning out! No matter where I am putting down my roots, I always keep my lifestyle healthy by getting close to nature (in my spare time, you can generally find me by some kind of glorious body of water) and eating wholesome food, “let food be thy medicine”.


With your socials flooded with birds, reptiles and the natural world, we’d love to know a little about your work with animals.

Since I was a kid, there was nothing else I wanted to do in life, it was always work with animals. I started volunteering with wildlife when I was 16 and then studied Wildlife Veterinary Nursing. After the first year of study I packed up everything I had in 2 weeks for a job in North Queensland. After 6 months in the role of zoo keeper, I stepped up to manage the wildlife park. We introduced the public to our native friends and raised awareness of the environmental problems each species faced. I will admit I faced some inner conflict about working in a wildlife park, but truly, how else can you create an interaction for people and animals who otherwise would never do so? You take whatever platform available to you and you do the best job you can to teach. I watched people fall in love with my furred, feathered and scaled friends everyday, and hoped that in this way they would go on to take some responsibility for their habitat.

This role lead me in to a Wildlife Nursing job for James Cook University where I helped develop a new role within the veterinary clinic there caring for wildlife! I learnt SO much from my vet and am so grateful for both experiences. Im now back finishing off my vet nursing studies in Northern NSW 📖 awaiting the next adventure. 

What has been one of your most memorable moments working with wildlife? 

Hmm.. Tough question.. I think witnessing  progress in any animal coming in to care is heart touching. It was such a privilege to have the skills to know what to do to nurture a life back to full health. It still amazes me. But probably my most memorable moment was re-uniting a juvenile kookaburra with his mum. I wanted to at least try it before sending him off to a carer to be reared. I walked for about an hour searching for his mum in a parkland, before sitting down to wait while the fledgling called for her. I sat him in the grass next to me and within a few minutes I heard her.... she called back! He flew towards her and she right away snatched a worm right out of the ground to give to him! I caught it all on film! It was soooo so special.

What is your spirit animal and why do you think so?

As well as all animals, I was actually a little extra obsessed with dogs growing up. I was that kid who wore pig tails and barked there food be served on a plate off the floor. (Still catch myself occasionally poking my head out the car window for a little, fresh breeze vibe). My spirit animal makes sense to be close to my innate love of the four legged kind. Have to go with Wolves on this one. Something about them... My friend and healer up north always told me to follow the wolf. They’ve always been a totem that came up for me in meditation and little signs in life. Like “Women Who Run With the Wolves”, a book that came to me in my teens (perfect timing) that I sunk my teeth and soul in to; I still use it as my “bible”.



What is your biggest concern for our native wildlife at present and how do you believe we should be tackling this problem?

I have many grave concerns, I think the bottom line lies with legislation and political priorities. Both seem to be obscured by greed for resources and money. I’m not sure how to eradicate greed in the world, if it ever can be. 

But I know once you connect with nature, you get closer to your purpose, and once you see what really matters, you don’t want more than the earth can give. Can we drop our world leaders in to the most pristine parts of the world and leave them there for a few weeks!?? Maybe not... but change takes every person asking themselves, “what is my part in this ecosystem? What contribution am I making? What choices am I making, or not making, that directly effects this natural world? Is it positive? Or negative?” 

We need to ask more questions. Not just to ourselves, but to the men and women representing us. Write a letter, there’s multiple templates online and the correct places to send them. This puts pressure on government bodies. Not everyone will have the same way they can help, and that’s about finding your own purpose. what calls you? Do that.


What is your view on the importance of native bees and birds here in Australia?

Every creature is important to our ecosystem, each holds together stitches to a much greater patchwork. These guys are pollinators and they are undeniably important to Australia’s native flora and fauna. Currently, introduced bees are infiltrating the habitats of our natives.. They don’t pollinate native plants properly (but unfortunately do create huge competition for food, for native pollinators and also pollinate weeds like lantana that can take over natural systems... ) The native birds and bees of Aus play a significant role in tending to the ‘gardens’ that is our outback. They are some of the true wildlife rangers of this land. We need to care for them, so they can continue their valued work for the earth.


Photography by Alice Wint

September 29, 2020 — Alexandra Dash

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