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Archive | Volunteering

The Walking Volunteers

Sydney Trackwatch

 The Walking Volunteers Inc. have been proof-walking, mapping and providing walking routes around Sydney to walkers for 17 years. They now have over 1,300 kilometres of walking routes on their map and hope to add another 200 kilometres in the next month after approval has been granted by various land managers.

However, keeping track of changes on the walking routes is becoming more of a challenge as the network increases. The Walking Volunteers want to thank the walkers and land managers (e.g. Councils, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Western Sydney Parklands Trust, etc.) who often advise them of new and changed paths and tracks. However, tracks and paths are often closed for essential infrastructure (e.g. sewage pumping stations, light rail, etc.) or damage from natural events. It may take several months before the Walking Volunteers find out about these closures and when they do, they are able to liaise with land managers and establish alternative routes which are immediately updated on their maps and, via the magic of the Internet, updated on walkers’ smartphones, tablets or PCs. However, finding out about changes may take months and, in the meantime, walkers find it very frustrating to find a walking route on the maps has been closed.

So, the Walking Volunteers are introducing a program called Sydney Trackwatch to discover any changes or closures to the walking routes on their maps as soon as possible. It is very simple and does not require filling out complicated forms. Just let the Walking Volunteers know (Email: info@walkingvolunteers.org.au or Phone: 4784 2002) immediately of any changes or closures on the walking routes shown on any of their maps (Sydney Walking Tracks, Walking Coastal Sydney, Great West Walk). Also, let them know of any alternative routes you used to bypass the problem area. They will immediately re-walk, re-map and put the alternative routes on their maps as well as follow up the organisation responsible to find out when the walking route will be re-opened. When it is re-opened, they will immediately re-walk the route and change it back to the original course.

A good example of this is North Head, where the Walking Volunteers changed the route on their maps after the intensive bushfire in October 2020 and are now liaising with Sydney Harbour National Park and Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to change back to the original route when the fire-damaged areas are re-opened to the public.

All it takes is a quick phone call or email to assist the Walking Volunteers and your fellow-walkers!

 

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Volunteer Weeding

Volunteer! Weeding, especially of juvenile species requires excellent ID skills. Direction from an experienced bush regenerator is fundamental to getting it right.

National Parks and Wildlife staff across the state are in the process of planning how to best get on top of these invasive weed populations and the good news is we have a bit of time to get it right!

Now is not the best time to jump into burned places, as we trample much of the new growth, both good and bad.

As the fires ripped through the forest, they burned much of the vegetation. The playing field has now been levelled. However, now the battle begins as young plants fight for space, sunlight and water. By springtime most weeds will have grown to a sufficient size to identify and kill with relative ease. This is when we will deplete the seedbank and tip the balance in our favour. Preventing any new plants reaching maturity and reducing the population for generations to come.

So, what can you do? Go online or call your local National Parks office and find out what opportunities there are in your area. Councils and private Bushcare groups are also great alternatives, and don’t forget your own gardens either.

Guest note by:

Grant Purcell

Ranger

Blue Mountains Branch

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Volunteering for Nature

Summer of 2019-2020 has been characterised by extreme weather in particular catastrophic bushfires and more recently rain and flooding events. Volunteers are needed to help local wildlife and bushland to recover from fires, floods and other climate change related events. Volunteering benefits both your physical and mental health and enables you to contribute positively to your community. To point you in the right direction below is a list of current nature conservation volunteering opportunities.

Regrow, Rewild – National Parks Association of NSW

The National Parks Association of NSW is looking for volunteers for future projects to assist in the recovery of national parks, communities and native species impacted by bushfires. Express your interest here.

Bushcare and Landcare

Bushcare and Landcare Volunteering is another way that you can contribute to the recovery of parks and other bushlands. Bushcare groups are often part of a local Council or National Parks & Wildlife Service program and may be provided with help such as supervision, tools and training. Landcare groups are mostly in rural areas, however there are also many in metropolitan areas.

Birdlife Discovery Centre Sydney

The Birdlife Discovery Centre at Homebush Bay in Sydney is looking for volunteers who enjoy bird watching, conservation and promoting awareness of bird conservation. For more information on this and other bird conservation volunteering opportunities click here or contact Debbie Harris at daisyproctor@yahoo.co.uk

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Conservation Volunteers Australia provides a range of opportunities for people with a passion for nature and conservation to get involved both locally and across Australia. Bushfire recovery projects are a current focus for conservation volunteers.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has volunteering opportunities available. If you would like to contribute to the protection of the environment and meet other like-minded people click on this link to explore volunteering positions at NPWS.

iNaturalist Environment Recovery Project

The Environment Recovery Project is asking participants to record and upload their observations in areas of burnt bushland. Findings will be used to assist understanding of how species recover from the 2019‑2020 bushfire season.

Other nature volunteering opportunities

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has a range of volunteering opportunities in conservation, animal care, gardens and national parks. Click here for more information and to apply.

Seek Volunteer

The Seek Volunteer database is one of the largest in Australia and allows you to explore volunteer opportunities according to location and area of interest.

Birdata – Birdlife Australia

Birdata is a national bird monitoring program run by Birdlife Australia that you can contribute to. Visit the birdata website for information on how to get involved.

BirdLife Photography: Exciting opportunities exist for you to join this special interest group’s committee! Click here for more information.

National Office Volunteer Opportunities: BirdLife Australia E-Store pick and packer – email store@birdlife.org.au for further information

Birds on Farms (NSW): A regular surveying program is being established now. If you are interested in being a volunteer birdwatcher, click here for more information.

Re-aging the temperate woodlands of Central West NSW: Activities include habitat restoration, bird monitoring/watching, and engagement with schools and the general community. Click here for more information.

The Beach-nesting Birds program is always looking for new volunteers as our birds of focus are widely spread across an immense coastline and the threats facing them are as voluminous as the ocean. To read more about the many volunteer roles available click here. Training and mentoring can be provided!

For more information on Beach-nesting Birds volunteering, including where volunteers are most needed click here.

World Migratory Bird Day is coming up on Saturday May 9th! More information can be found by clicking here.

2020 dates for the National Migratory Shorebird program’s summer and winter shorebird counts are:

Summer Count: November 1st – February 29th (ideal date is January 15th)

Winter Count: May 15th – August 15th (ideal date is July 1st)

Bushwalking NSW Working Group Opportunities

Would you like to make a difference to bushwalking in NSW and the ACT?  Consider joining one of our 6 working groups:

  1. Standards & Risk Management Working Group
  2. Tracks & Access Working Group
  3. Conservation Working Group
  4. New Publications Working Group
  5. YPIC – Young People in Clubs Working Group
  6. Training – Great Leaders, Great Clubs Working Group

 

Committee Vacancy: Standards & Risk Management Working Group

Are you a member of an affiliated Bushwalking NSW club? Are you passionate about bushwalking, and concerned about policy and risk management issues that affect all NSW bushwalkers?

If you answered yes to both questions, contact us! Bushwalking NSW is seeking volunteers from around the State to form a working group on club standards & risk management. It will act as an advisory team to the Management Committee, and will:

  • develop policies and procedures that clubs can adopt to comply with legal requirements
  • develop tools for clubs to ensure they are compliant eg. with Fair Trading requirements
  • create a club level boiler plate Harassment Policy & Procedures and Inclusion statement
  • refine of Risk Management Guidelines
  • seek funding to provide training in Risk Management to clubs and their members

We will require you to:

  • attend Working Group and Management Committee meetings in person or via video conferencing software;
  • be aware of and have experience in bushwalking in NSW and/or ACT;
  • be aware of bushwalking information, issues, skills, and techniques;
  • promote a cooperative, collaborative group; and
  • assist in the development and implementation of appropriate solutions.

If these goals are of interest, we’d like to hear from you!  Apply through our Contact Us form.

 

Committee Vacancy: Tracks & Access Working Group

Are you a member of an affiliated Bushwalking NSW club? Are you passionate about bushwalking, and concerned about tracks and track access issues that affect all NSW bushwalkers?

If you answered yes to both questions, contact us! Bushwalking NSW is seeking volunteers from around the State to form a working group on NSW tracks and access. It will act as an advisory team to the Management Committee, and will:

  • consider approaches to organising and leading track work
  • monitor Paper Road Land Sales
  • consider track sponsorship, through various mediums such as Social media, the BNSW newsletter, AGM

We will require you to:

  • attend Working Group and Management Committee meetings in person or via video conferencing software;
  • be aware of and have experience in bushwalking in NSW and/or ACT;
  • be aware of bushwalking information, issues, skills, and techniques;
  • promote a cooperative, collaborative group; and
  • assist in the development and implementation of appropriate solutions.

If these goals are of interest, we’d like to hear from you! Apply through our Contact Us form.

 

Committee Vacancy: Conservation Working Group

Are you a member of an affiliated Bushwalking NSW club? Are you passionate about bushwalking, and concerned about conservation issues that affect all NSW bushwalkers?

If you answered yes to both questions, contact us! Bushwalking NSW is seeking volunteers from around the State to form a working group on NSW Conservation. It will act as an advisory team to the Management Committee, and will lead campaigns to protect nature eg. Warragamba Dam, Horses out of Kozi, etc.

We will require you to:

  • attend Working Group and Management Committee meetings in person or via video conferencing software;
  • be aware of and have experience in bushwalking in NSW and/or ACT;
  • be aware of bushwalking information, issues, skills, and techniques;
  • promote a cooperative, collaborative group; and
  • assist in the development and implementation of appropriate solutions.

If these goals are of interest, we’d like to hear from you! Apply through our Contact Us form.

 

Committee Vacancy: New Publications Working Group

Are you a member of an affiliated Bushwalking NSW club? Are you passionate about bushwalking, and love writing and publication design?

If you answered yes to both questions, contact us! Bushwalking NSW is seeking volunteers from around the State to form a working group on Publications. It will act as an advisory team to the Management Committee, and will:

  • seek articles & club profiles from clubs
  • seek funding to develop a new magazine design & print run
  • source & appoint a magazine designer
  • source & appoint an editor
  • liaise with outdoor stores to agree add magazine to sales bags
  • arrange for production

We will require you to:

  • attend Working Group and Management Committee meetings in person or via video conferencing software;
  • be aware of and have experience in bushwalking in NSW and/or ACT;
  • be aware of bushwalking information, issues, skills, and techniques;
  • promote a cooperative, collaborative group; and
  • assist in the development and implementation of appropriate solutions.

If these goals are of interest, we’d like to hear from you! Apply through our Contact Us form.

 

Committee Vacancy: YPIC – Young People in Clubs Working Group

Are you a member of an affiliated Bushwalking NSW club? Are you passionate about bushwalking, and do you or your club hold the key to recruiting young people into clubs?

If you answered yes to both questions, contact us! Bushwalking NSW is seeking volunteers from around the State to form a working group on recruiting young people into clubs. It will act as an advisory team to the Management Committee, and will:

  • seek funding to research why youth are not joining our clubs, and what could incentivise them to do so
  • seek funds to develop programs to overcome issues/engage with youth
  • liaise with outdoor organisations that are already engaging youth eg Scouts, Guides, Duke of Edinburgh, Outdoor Education Group
  • consider how clubs could cater to Duke of Edinburgh candidates & retain students as club members
  • consider mechanisms for inclusiveness in clubs – draft a policy and actions
  • educate clubs on possible ways of recruiting young people and provide boiler plate information to include on club websites

We will require you to:

  • attend Working Group and Management Committee meetings in person or via video conferencing software;
  • be aware of and have experience in bushwalking in NSW and/or ACT;
  • be aware of bushwalking information, issues, skills, and techniques;
  • promote a cooperative, collaborative group; and
  • assist in the development and implementation of appropriate solutions.

If these goals are of interest, we’d like to hear from you! Apply through our Contact Us form.

 

Committee Vacancy: Training – Great Leaders, Great Clubs Working Group

Are you a member of an affiliated Bushwalking NSW club? Are you passionate about bushwalking, and are a leader or would like to train leaders?

If you answered yes to both questions, contact us! Bushwalking NSW is seeking volunteers from around the State to form a working group on Training Leaders. It will act as an advisory team to the Management Committee, and will:

  • consider out how clubs can cultivate great leaders
  • consider how clubs can retain great leaders
  • seek funding for a program to develop great leaders in clubs

We will require you to:

  • attend Working Group and Management Committee meetings in person or via video conferencing software;
  • be aware of and have experience in bushwalking in NSW and/or ACT;
  • be aware of bushwalking information, issues, skills, and techniques;
  • promote a cooperative, collaborative group; and
  • assist in the development and implementation of appropriate solutions.

If these goals are of interest, we’d like to hear from you! Apply through our Contact Us form.

The Sutherland Bushwalking Club Adopts ‘Royal’ Tracks

Have you ever noticed an overgrown trail or track in your favourite National Park?

Ever wondered if you could do something about it?

The Sutherland Bushwalking Club is one of the clubs that has, and they continue to do so.

The Sutherland Bushwalking Club may be unique, having proudly contributed almost 600 hours of combined effort on various track projects, on over 12 separate work & planning days in what they have dubbed their ‘Adopt a Track’ project.

The Club’s success is a demonstration of what a Club does for its community, and an example of how a Bushwalking Club and the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) can work together to make parks available to all bushwalkers into the future.

Click to see the Royal National Park on Google Maps

The Club focused on the Royal National Park and initiated talks with the local ranger. Naturally, the agreement required lengthy negotiations with NPWS to meet government regulations and still be effectively managed.

It was eventually worked out that Sutherland Bushwalkers would ‘adopt’ The Burgh Track in the Royal National Park and help maintain it. At the time, the Burgh Track had become badly overgrown, blocked at many points by fallen trees and subject to erosion because of blocked drainage.

There were certain stipulations involved: NPWS determined which track and which part of that track; and a Group Co-ordinator was required to discuss with the Head Ranger track guidelines, cut heights, being responsible for walkers staying on the track and reducing trip hazards. There were also a non-members attending from Bushcare Australia, as well as youths from the Duke of Edinburgh Program.

NPWS supplied most of the tools, such as saws, secateurs, loppers and clippers.

Click for larger image of the Burgh Track

The Club provided their unbridled enthusiasm and experience, expert bushwalking gear, tender loving care and muscle power.

The first day was 10 August 2015 with several members meeting at Garrawarra Farm. Armed with tools mostly supplied by National Parks and Wildlife Services, the Club members walked the track and cleared it as they walked.

Since then, the track has now been fully cleared and looks like the best maintained track in the Park. The hardest work has been clearing fallen trees, but now only sporadic visits, checking culverts and looking out for storm damage are needed to monitor its condition.

The Club continues helping to this day, and more recently NPWS have requested they work regularly on the Uloola Track, between Audley & Uloola Falls every three months; which they access by driving down a fire trail.

The Club’s ‘Adopt a Track’ project now consists of a one day event every three months, from 9am to 12:30 and then finishes up with lunch in the bush. The event is run by a passionate leader who loves the park, and is a great way for Club members to meet and get to know one another, including new members. Those less experienced or mobile lend a hand with other tasks such as lopping smaller branches, cleaning track signage or even supplying a little something for morning tea.

If you’d like to join in the fun, contact The Sutherland Bushwalking Club via their website: http://www.sutherlandbushwalkers.org.au/

You can also head out and enjoy these great walks for yourself:

Sutherland Bushwalking Club is not alone in assisting NPWS and Councils with track maintenance. If your own club also does track maintenance, we’d love to hear from you. Just click here to send us an email.

Visit The Royal National Park