Conservation implies wise use of natural resources such as soil nutrients, minerals, water, plants, animals, etc. It may also include protecting the large collections of resources that make up a habitat or environment.
Conservation Volunteers is one such organisation that recruits and manages teams of volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world to work on important environmental and wildlife conservation projects. Founded in 1982 in Ballarat,Victoriaas the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers, this non-profit organisation has grown to become the largest practical conservation organisation in Australasia with offices in every capital city and many regional centres across Australia and New Zealand.
Each year they complete more than 2000 conservation projects lasting anywhere from one day to many months, resulting in positive environmental outcomes, increased community participation, valuable conservation skills and awareness. Through partnerships with various types of landholders, they assist in urban, regional and remote projects including tree planting; seed collection; endangered species protection; weed control; flora and fauna surveys; walking track construction; fencing and environmental monitoring.
Their expertise in managing volunteer involvement in conservation projects is widely recognised. In partnership with the Australian Commonwealth Government, they deliver programs such as National Green Jobs Corps, helping young people to gain valuable skills in conservation, leadership and team work, they also manage projects and land in partnership with many parks agencies, and have strong working relationships with many other environmental and land care groups. They are proud of their achievements so far, in fact they planted more than 25 million trees since the organisation began and involved hundreds of thousands of volunteers. They have also been recognised by many awards including the United Nations Environment Program – the Global 500 Honour Roll for Environmental Achievement.
Madeline Townsend, Director-Volunteer & Membership Services, says, “I volunteered! I was looking for a way to make a contribution to society and my main interest was in the natural world. Combining these two points together meant that Conservation Volunteers was the perfect ‘fit’ for me. I enjoy the fact that Conservation Volunteers inspires so many people to start doing something positive – whether it is spending a day out with us planting trees or collecting seeds, or going home afterwards and remembering to recycle or switch the lights off. We have a very limited chance to make positive changes for our planet, and it’s important that everyone gets involved.
Humans are very clever, but we don’t always make clever choices when it comes to looking after the place where we all live.
There’s only one planet so we all need to work together to really look after it.”
According to him, Conservation Volunteers welcomes volunteers from a wide range of ages. To join one of their residential programs, where you stay with them at a project site, you need to be aged at least 16 years old. Younger children can join on daily programs with their parents or guardians, or on one of their school programs. Plenty of volunteers join projects in their local area, close to where they live.
On asking about the expansion plans, Madeline says, “We’re also constantly looking for different ways to get people engaged with the environment. We’ve recently started a new program, called Summer of Discovery – it’s a way for people to join us to learn about the environment, as well as actively volunteer. The Discovery program includes walks and talks, environmental art projects, discussions – it’s quite different from what we do every day with volunteers. Anything we can do to get people thinking about and looking after their environment is a good thing, and we’ll continue to look for new ideas like this one.
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Author: Mansi Bagga
Mansi Bagga is an MBA student, pursuing a course in Communication Management. She is a highly enthusiastic person, always willing to learn more and do more. She is an Indian by origin and a Thai citizen by virtue. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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