Parks need your passion

They say a legacy is not so much what you say or necessarily do, moreover how you connect with society and give something back. Winston Churchill once observed ‘we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give to others’.  So it is true of the passion, the commitment and the legacy of giving that our wonderful volunteers bring to the ACT’s conservation estate.

Over 25 years ago a seed of an idea was planted. With time it has been nurtured and has matured with experience. Today ParkCare is the cornerstone of our energetic volunteer agenda. As a community based partnership it connects people with parks.

From collecting native seeds, to plant propagation, to removing nasty weeds, to controlling erosion, ParkCare represents a band of passionate volunteers committed in giving back to our environment.  It’s this diversity which is the real strength underscoring our thriving volunteer program.

In a contemporary world Friends of Bruce Ridge is a dynamic ParkCare group comprising of mountain bike enthusiasts, promoting sustainable mountain bike riding right in the heart of the nation’s capital. It’s through this engaging stewardship that community volunteer groups have become tangible advocates for conservation, inspiring the creation of similar groups at Mt Majura and Isaacs Ridge.

Across the bush capital, local catchment groups have collaborated with indigenous communities to enhance aboriginal values of place and in doing so advocating the adoption of cultural burning practices. This inspirational partnership has seen the creation of a broader Aboriginal ParkCare group connecting local people with local country.

With specialist skills, community members volunteer their time in conserving and protecting our built rural heritage. From high country mountain huts to historic precincts scattered across the bush capital people power is making a real difference.

At Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve guests are welcomed by knowledgeable volunteers, keen to impart their insights to enhance any visitor experience be it spotting an elusive platypus or a stroll through the wetlands.

Another great example of partnership is the identification and mapping of trails within our reserves. Many of these trails have been created unofficially by walkers and cyclists over the years, inadvertently creating problems at times with erosion, fragmentation of habitat and introduction of weed seeds. Utilising the local knowledge of our volunteers, many of whom have been working on their ‘patch’ for over 20 years, we used an App that volunteers uploaded to their smartphones and mapped the trails. The result is a better planned reserve trail system, with much credit due to volunteers.

Our volunteers are drawn from diverse ages and backgrounds, reflecting as they do our community. If you would like to leave a legacy, give a little back and in doing so connect with nature please visit Get Involved - Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate - Environment

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful Platypus.

Article also appeared in The Chronicle