There are lots of ways of being a Wildcare volunteer and all are welcome! Joining a group is a great way to get to know your local environment or to immerse yourself in a place you love to visit that is further from home. Perhaps your interest is in a particular species – the Orange-bellied parrot maybe? Or perhaps you love climbing or wetlands, bushwalking or off shore islands – or maybe, like Lesley, you are interested in pretty much everything!

This is Lesley’s story of her first year as a Wildcare volunteer …..

Remote coast – magnificent. Photo, Lesley Ashburn

When I first joined Wildcare, just over a year ago, I signed up to lots of different groups around the state. I don’t have a very regular schedule / routine / life compared to most and I didn’t know a lot about the organisation… so I just wanted to know what was available and when.

I have participated with:

  • Friends of St Valentines Peak – track maintenance a couple of times
  • Friends of the OBP – survey weekends at Arthur River a couple of times
  • Friends of Cradle Mountain – a couple of times (tree planting and wombat monitoring… and maintenance of Yackandandah Hut)
  • Wildcare SPRATS – after being unsuccessful initially for the section I applied for, my application was good enough so that I was offered a spot on another section when someone pulled out.
  • Friends of Melaleuca – Mt Beattie Track work – building a double plank section of track
  • Friends of Narawntapu – removing sea spurge

I have been lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer for Parks in WA, a couple of different turtle programs in WA, Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Sea Shepherd, the Department of Conservation (DOC) in NZ, a conservation company in Africa, and Parks Tas as a camp host at Cockle Creek. Participating in these have given me some useful skills / knowledge / experience that has perhaps been useful (in combination with my travels, lifestyle and a remote first aid certificate) in gaining Wildcare positions that I’ve had to apply for.

I have found it really helpful when the leaders of the groups I have participated in have made me feel welcome by introducing themselves and letting me know the what, why and how of the work we are doing. This had me feel important in the process, (even though this is not my area of expertise) and that giving my time is valued.

It is nice to meet like-minded people and I have appreciated the informal conversations that arise during the day.

As a first-timer, it’s nice to not work alone; so that you meet people, know what’s going on and get feedback that you are doing things correctly… and it’s always good to be thanked by the leader at the end.

Being taught information and skills makes me feel more confident and useful with what I am doing (and I then will be more useful as well). I always like opportunities that give me those things – variety is good for me personally, and I can’t deny, the chance to go to some remote, wild places is definitely appealing too.

I enjoy hearing from the group after a Wildcare event too. It’s good to know how progress is going (and nice to recap the fun times).

I look forward to much more involvement and I encourage any others contemplating getting involved to go for it.