Give Happy, Live Happy
Isn’t it a great slogan? You may have noticed this catchy catchphrase in the media last week, as organisations all around the country thanked their volunteers during National Volunteer Week. The benefits of volunteering have been well documented; while volunteers increase the capacity of the organisations they work with, they simultaneously reap the rewards of decreased isolation, social networking, learning new skills, supporting mental and physical health.
Each year Natural Resources South East holds a two day workshop to recognise and reward the region’s environmental volunteers. This year about 50 people gathered in Robe for the event, including NGT’s Jess, Bryan, and Rose.
The program was chockablock full of interesting talks on the morning of Day One! We heard from Tim Hoile, Director of the Marine Discovery Centre in Adelaide on his experiences with volunteers; Alison Boomsma from NRSE gave a quick introduction to using social media as a volunteer group; Abi Goodman from NRSE shared footage and photos of wildlife taken by sensor-activated cameras in bushland around the South East; and NGT’s Bryan Haywood together with Vicki Natt presented on malleefowl monitoring in the Upper South East.
After an excellent lunch of gourmet pizza, awards were presented to a number of long-term volunteers for their outstanding efforts by NRSE Regional Manager Tim Collins. Congratulations to Peter Feast from Port MacDonnell Landcare, Peter Clarke from the Kungari Indigenous burial ground in Kingston, Vicki Natt who has been involved in many groups including Friends of Butcher Gap and BirdLife Australia, Neil Dickins from Friends of Canunda Beachport Parks, and Jeff Campbell from Friends of Shorebirds SE.
The short presentations that followed from each community group on their work were inspirational. What a great bunch of passionate people.
Marshmallows were roasted, stories exchanged, and much laughter was had around the roaring campfire Friday evening.
Day Two saw attendees divide into two groups to take part in either a cultural or coastal field trip. While the coastal field trippers visited revegetation, and erosion control sites, the cultural group visited Woakwine and Kungari Conservation Parks with Elder Dougie Nicholls who talked about the importance of connecting with Country, then Café Jaffa Wines where winemaker Anna Hooper spoke about biodynamics and the company’s volunteer efforts along their local coast, and finally the group visited Kungari burial ground.
The coming-together at this event of so many dedicated people who are regularly getting out in and looking after their local area was awe-inspiring, and, as mentioned above, inspirational. We are proud to know and work alongside you!
A big thank you to Tamara, Nat, Alison, and all the other NRSE staff involved in organising this event. Can’t wait for next year’s!