Volunteers changing the world

Annette Dean
Published 14 Mar 2019 
about  Liffey River  
Catherine Nicholson removing blackberries on the Liffey River.<br/> Catherine Nicholson removing blackberries on the Liffey River.
New local volunteer Deb Lynch at Liffey River reserve.<br/> New local volunteer Deb Lynch at Liffey River reserve.
Matthew Cloudsdale, one of our regular volunteers, removing blackberry at Liffey River Reserve.<br/> Matthew Cloudsdale, one of our regular volunteers, removing blackberry at Liffey River Reserve.

Our monthly working bees in Tasmania are going from strength to strength, with new volunteers signing up every month. Last Saturday a team of nine (including three new volunteers) joined us to tackle blackberries and foxgloves on our Liffey River reserve (one of our Liffey Valley reserves).

It’s particularly important to manage these weeds now, as here in Tasmania we're lucky to have weeds that have not become established on our reserves – blackberries occur only along the lower edge of the reserve near the banks of the Liffey River and Pages Creek, and foxglove incursions are limited to open sections along the walking track and the river banks.

Since 2017 our volunteer program in Tasmania  has expanded from just a handful of volunteers helping us once a year, to a dynamic team of more than 40 regular volunteers who have contributed more than 2,000 hours.

But volunteering is so much more than doing the hard yakka. In the Liffey Valley we now have more than a dozen locals who not only join us whenever they can to help on working bees, but also provide input into our planning and help in other ways such as keeping an eye on our reserves and contributing to bigger picture management of the Liffey River such as community fire plans, road safety, and weed management.

We also have a huge diversity of skilled volunteers helping us with cultural heritage, fire, GIS, and interpretation, to name just a few specialist skills.

So why volunteer? At a time when it's easy to get despondent about the state of the environment, we're lucky to work in an inspiring place, with people who are just as inspiring, so that we all finish a day of hard work feeling a great sense of camaraderie and  that we're doing our bit to make the world a better place.

At every working bee, our team finishes the day feeling empowered. The words of Margaret Mead come to mind: never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world – indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.

To get involved, contact [email protected].

Catherine Nicholson removing blackberries on the Liffey River.<br/> Catherine Nicholson removing blackberries on the Liffey River.
New local volunteer Deb Lynch at Liffey River reserve.<br/> New local volunteer Deb Lynch at Liffey River reserve.
Matthew Cloudsdale, one of our regular volunteers, removing blackberry at Liffey River Reserve.<br/> Matthew Cloudsdale, one of our regular volunteers, removing blackberry at Liffey River Reserve.