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Posted on 23/05/2022 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Volunteers recognised for vital contribution to Nature Parks

The dedication of hundreds of Nature Parks’ volunteers was celebrated this week, with a barbecue held in their honour to mark National Volunteers Week.

More than 200 people volunteer every day at Nature Parks, making an invaluable contribution matched with hard work, commitment and a passion for conservation.

The Phillip Island Nature Parks volunteer team was formalised five years ago, but volunteering efforts date back decades, with volunteers assisting with the Island’s first Penguin Study Group and at Churchill Island.

Nature Parks CEO Catherine Basterfield said volunteers played a vital role in conservation, visitor experience and research:
“From threatened species monitoring and re-vegetation, to creating a memorable experience for our visitors, we are so grateful for the vital contribution the volunteer team makes,” Ms Basterfield said.

"This collective effort helps us to achieve our purpose - to protect nature for wildlife and inspire others to act”.

Volunteers play an essential role in programs such as the protection and care of threatened species like the Bush Stone-Curlew, rescuing migratory Shearwater birds, cleaning beaches for Turn the Tide, native plant propagation at the Barb Martin Bushbank Nursery, and counting koalas.

Earlier this year the Nature Parks’ volunteer team was nominated for a ‘COVID resilience’ award at the 2021 Volunteering Awards.

Karen Duffy, a Bush Stone-Curlew and Koala volunteer and Stephen Martin, a Bushbank and Water Watch volunteer were at Government House to accept the nomination. 

The last two years have been a very trying and interesting time for us all. During the lockdowns last year, the support from the Nature Parks was nothing short of wonderful,” said Ms Duffy.

“We had support and information at every stage, even when we were unable to visit the sites where we volunteer. This year, we are so happy to be back on site, doing what we love.”

As part of the National Volunteer Week celebrations at Churchill Island, awards were presented to volunteers who went above and beyond in their role and to those who have reached service milestones of up to 25 years.

“This year’s theme of ‘Better Together’ perfectly embodies the volunteers at Nature Parks. I am continually impressed by the support and camaraderie of the volunteer team, along with making a significant contribution towards the Nature Parks’ purpose,” said Nature Parks Volunteer Coordinator, Helen Masters.

“We really could not do it without them.”