Could you adopt a park?

Two people foraging through long grassWoven within the fabric of our urban existence, there exist pockets of wonderful open spaces. Each is a retreat that acts as an oasis within our municipal metropolis, serving as a reminder to why we are indeed the bush capital of the nation.

Good old fashioned people power makes a real difference in these spaces. Groups such as the energetic Curtin Garden Carers, the enthusiastic Dickson Wetlands Group and the City Walk Urban Volunteers in Reid make a physical contribution to the look and feel of our beautiful city.

The Urban Parks and Places Volunteer Program is a community partnership that harnesses the passion, the pride and the connection local community groups have in their patch. The program empowers neighbours to roll up their sleeves, get involved and contribute to the conservation, presentation and the maintenance of the bush capital's many urban open spaces.

From weed control to picking up rubbish, devoted volunteers are helping our community look its best. It's not all about just 'doing things'. Various groups are also heavily involved with community education, social events and contributing to our collective knowledge through citizen science projects.

Volunteering is not only a great way to support our urban open spaces. It's also a perfect opportunity to get out and about and meet new people and to foster a stronger sense of community cohesion in your local area.

About 2,000 hours of passionate volunteer work was carried out last financial year by 35 active groups across our city. We all directly benefit from this. Next time you are down at Lake Burley Griffin check out Nara Peace Park. You'll see what I mean.

Recently, an exciting opportunity to extend the program was launched through the Adopt-a-Park initiative. The initiative was designed to encourage greater community participation by strengthening the capacity of local communities to care for our beautiful local neighborhood parks. Up to $20,000 is available to empower community groups to make a real difference.

This exciting grant initiative will encourage more community members to become active volunteers by adopting their local park. The grant program is currently open and will close on September 20.

To whet your appetite and get your creative juices flowing, two information sessions will be held over the next two weeks. These sessions will provide an insight as to the wonderful opportunities available through Adopt-A-Park Community Grants.

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.

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