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Volunteer Spotlight - Justine Philip joins the Pilbara animal health team

Talented photographer and AMRRIC volunteer Justine Philip captured this beautiful image of a dingo while on the Pilbara program.

AMRRIC member Justine Philip volunteered as a data collector on the Pilbara vet program, under the supervision of AMRRIC partner veterinarian Dr Stephen Cutter.  Thanks to Dr Stephen for hosting our AMRRIC volunteers.  Here, Justine shares some insights gained from her volunteer experience.


What communities did you visit?

Communities of the Pilbara region: Punmu, Jigalong, Kunawarritji, Parnngurr.  We travelled over 2400kms during the trip.

What did you do on the program?

I was the data collector and general assistant for the vets, vet nurses and environmental health workers.

What did you most enjoy?

I loved every minute of the ten day trip.  The company and conversation was great, the landscape incredible.  The community members were very helpful and the children were amazing.  The animals were an eclectic mix of free-ranging dogs, birds, donkey and camels; they were great to work with and mostly very happy and well socialised.

Were there any challenges? How did you overcome these?

The heat was extreme but we had plenty of water.  The accommodation was generally very good but Cotton Creek was challenging. It was good to share a room with the three other women travelling in our group there (at the Cotton Creek house) because the place was alive with creatures of all descriptions hopping and crawling all over the rooms! Despite the challenges it was my favourite destination and the community and animals there were inspiring.

What advice would you give to others wanting to volunteer?

I highly recommend volunteering with AMRRIC.  It is an opportunity to better understand and appreciate remote Indigenous communities, and to encourage support for improved animal health in remote regions. 

What is the main thing you got out of this volunteering experience?

I have huge respect and admiration for the vets and vet nurses who have been doing this work for many years under often very difficult conditions.  Their attitude to the work is incredible and it is clear to see the benefits within the human and animal communities.


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