Make a world of difference

They say that from humble beginnings big things grow. So it can be said for the passion people bring to our parks through our energetic volunteer program. Their legacy is tangible.

It is significant.

To celebrate, to acknowledge the enormous contribution people power makes to the world, the theme for this year’s National Volunteers Week is ‘making a world of difference’. A theme which truly captures the essence of what it means to give something back.

Incredibly, six million Australians volunteer their time every year, contributing an estimated $290 billion to the national economy and yielding a 450% return for every dollar invested.

The rate of volunteering here in our beautiful bush capital is the highest in Australia. More than 36% of Canberrans participate in some form of volunteer-based activity, contributing $1.5 billion to the ACT economy every year.

ParkCare represents the cornerstone of our enthusiastic environmental volunteer program. A community-based partnership connecting people with parks through the natural values of the bush capital. From collecting native seeds, removing nasty weeds to controlling erosion, ParkCare represents a band of passionate volunteers committed to giving something back to our environment.

Collectively as a community we have all benefited, as will those who will ultimately walk in our footsteps. In the context of conservation custodians, our amazing volunteers assist us in so many varied ways. It’s this diversity, the natural variety, that is the real strength underscoring a powerful volunteer program.

With specialist skills and technical talent, community members volunteer their time in protecting our natural and built rural heritage. The Kosciuszko Huts Association’s members conserve our high country heritage. At Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve guests are greeted by knowledgeable volunteers, keen to impart their insights to enhance any visitor experience. The National Parks Association work to enhance the values of our conservation estate.

In addition to celebrating our incredible environmental champions during National Volunteer Week we would also like to extend an acknowledgment to the amazing volunteers who make significant contributions in supporting our Canberra community who are at risk, experiencing or recovering from domestic violence.

To simply say thank you, we are offering free entry to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve for a week from Saturday 25May. This offer is open to all our environmental volunteers and volunteers who work within the community services sector. We want to show solidarity, to acknowledge those who are helping vulnerable community members.

Our volunteers join us from diverse cultural backgrounds and mixed age groups, reflecting the wonderful community we work with. If you would like to leave a legacy, give a little back and in doing so connect with nature visit The ParkCare Initiative - Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate - Environment

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