Bushwalking, Canyoning and Exploring – Meet Vic, the Outdoor Adventurer

A substantial aspect of the Science for Wildlife program involves speaking at community events to raise awareness and to meet locals who will often come across native wildlife in their own backyards.

These events help the local community to understand the work that S4W is completing, while also raising awareness of risks to native wildlife and how to mitigate these on a daily basis. Oftentimes, these events also result in new volunteers who have been inspired by hearing us speak about the organisation’s goals and projects.

One such event is how we came to meet our wonderful volunteer, Vic Giniunas. Our Founding Director Dr Kellie was presenting at a local bushwalking club that Vic was a member of. He told us:

The idea of wandering through the bush, radio tracking koalas struck a chord with me and I wasted no time in joining and getting trained up”

Meet Vic

Vic has always been a self-professed “nature nerd” and spent his life escaping to nature and wild places whenever possible. This is one of the reasons why he moved to the Blue Mountains 30 years ago, and since moving has spent his weekends and spare time canyoning, bushwalking and exploring the native surrounds.

I’m one of those people who need to escape to wild places for their sanity. It’s part of my DNA. My happiest memories from childhood were catching frogs, tadpoles and other critters.”

After retiring in 2019, Vic finally had time to pursue his passions and became involved with a number of citizen science groups including Science for Wildlife. He has been a highly valued member of the Science for Wildlife volunteering team for the past 18 months.

Bushwalks with a purpose

Vic has assisted in a range of projects while volunteering for Science for Wildlife. He has completed radio tracking, scat surveys, find and capture days and implemented food and water stations for native wildlife after the bushfires.

Prior to becoming a volunteer, Vic would often go on bushwalks in the Blue Mountains area, and told us how exciting it is to add a purpose to these walks by tracking koalas.

“Bushwalking is a lot more interesting when you have some sort of quest. It’s like a form of hunting where no one gets hurt! You never know where the koalas will take you, and you discover some stunningly beautiful bits of country.”

Featured: Local Koala named Puck, picture by Jessie Malpass

Vic was involved in the rescue of the 12 Kanangra koalas that were taken to Taronga Park ahead of last summer’s bushfires, and the subsequent collection of local food sources to feed them whilst in captivity. He was also present when the 12 koalas were released back into the Blue Mountains area post fires.

Vic has forged strong friendships with members of the S4W team and has many wonderful memories from his work as a volunteer over the past 18 months.

“It’s hard to pick a favourite experience. The first time out with S4W was a find and capture day and I spotted a young female and had the honour of naming her Lakshmi, after the Hindu goddess.”

A huge thank you to Vic who has been a great help to the S4W team over the past 18 months. We look forward to more bushwalks and outdoor adventures in 2021!

How can you help S4W?

Work of this scale requires many hands! We are inviting volunteers from local communities and beyond to assist in the coming months. We are currently running scat surveys around the Kanangra Boyd National Park and surrounding areas until mid-February. If you are interested in assisting, please click on the link below for more information.

For other project updates, and to learn more about the Science for Wildlife community, visit our website here.