Working bees: pivotal in conservation management

Monday 20 March, 2006

The future of working bees at Bush Heritage reserves is looking exceedingly bright. We're developing a model, to be used Australia-wide, based on the month-long working bee held at Charles Darwin Reserve, WA, in 2005 (see Bush Heritage News, Summer 2005).

Volunteers repairing the Ethabuka windmill. Photo John and Lyla Hansen.Volunteers repairing the Ethabuka windmill. Photo John and Lyla Hansen.

Working bees bring energy and expertise to our land conservation work. The intention for 2006 and beyond is to build new opportunities for our Bush Heritage family to get involved in on-ground work at a growing number of extraordinary locations across the country.

The extended working bee at Charles Darwin Reserve was a huge success. Focusing on the weeds, volunteers took on their mission with youthful enthusiasm and many were keen to return to their ‘patch’ in 2006. The event itself attracted more than 40 people over the month, and they contributed in excess of 300 people days. The value of this sort of support is inestimable.

Using this model, we're expanding the program to more Bush Heritage reserves in 2006. Such working bees bring huge gains for on-ground conservation, are good fun, bring like-minded people together and enable Bush Heritage supporters to spend quality time on the reserves.

The 2005 weeding blitz at Charles Darwin Reserve, WA. Photo Ken Hudson. The 2005 weeding blitz at Charles Darwin Reserve, WA. Photo Ken Hudson.

We invite all of you to think about participating, whether for a handful of days or an entire working bee. Lending a hand is the key! Working bee activities depend on the needs of each reserve. People with specific skills or interests are highly sought after for special tasks like plumbing, electrical work and plant and animal surveys. But everyone has a role to play.

This year the newly purchased Cravens Peak Reserve, Qld, and also Carnarvon Station Reserve, Qld, will be undertaking infrastructure projects as well as some on-ground management work. Goonderoo Reserve, Qld, needs a new campsite and work done on the reserve. Working bees at Charles Darwin, Judith Eardley and Liffey River reserves will focus on eradicating weeds.

Revegetation work at Tarcutta Hills Reserve, NSW. Photo Joelle Metcalf.Revegetation work at Tarcutta Hills Reserve, NSW. Photo Joelle Metcalf.

There's something for everybody.

Volunteer rangers are pure gold!

As the Volunteer Ranger Program continues to move forward in leaps and bounds, Bush Heritage has been able to offer greater opportunities and more reserves for participants to visit. Ethabuka, Carnarvon Station and Goonderoo reserves in Queensland, and Charles Darwin and Eurardy reserves in Western Australia, offer expanding opportunities to volunteer rangers in three very different ecological regions.

In addition, Bush Heritage continues to support the volunteer program at the Mareeba wetlands in northern Queensland (see Bush Heritage News, Autumn 2005). We've long praised the support of volunteer rangers. They do the most amazing job and the views of our reserve managers are similarly glowing.

Ethabuka Reserve Manager Karen Harrland and baby Asha with volunteers Jocelyn Doran (left) and Jean Martin. Photo John and Lyla Hansen.Ethabuka Reserve Manager Karen Harrland and baby Asha with volunteers Jocelyn Doran (left) and Jean Martin. Photo John and Lyla Hansen.

At Eurardy the reserve managers commented that volunteer rangers

‘… were a breath of fresh air. Their enthusiasm was infectious and renewed us after the first couple of months of hard slog. It's amazing what a couple of extra pairs of hands can achieve. We were able to get a
number of bigger jobs done in a fraction of the time and it was a great motivation … They were great company.’

We're looking forward to a fantastic future for the program and if you're keen to get into the great Aussie outdoors in 2006 or beyond then please contact us.

Volunteers needed for the conservation partnerships program

We're seeking a dedicated volunteer or two to assist the Volunteer Ranger and Working Bee programs at the Conservation Support Centre in Melbourne. Good computer skills are essential and an understanding of environmental management would be an advantage.

If you're interested in these activities, register your name to be alerted about future volunteer opportunities.

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