Bill Johnston's happy place
For dedicated Bush Heritage volunteer Bill Johnston, the sign at Eurardy Reserve is the gateway to his happy place.Read More
We have a very active volunteer program with over 1,400 people currently supporting our work.
However, placements are limited in some locations because we need to ensure all volunteers are safe, adequately resourced, doing meaningful work and covered by insurance.
Most of our volunteer placements are very remote and our field season runs from February/March to October/November each year.
Our volunteer placements for 2023 are now filled. If you'd like to register your interest for 2024, you can do so below. We'll contact all registered volunteers in January with our placement calendar for 2024.
Before applying to volunteer with us it's important to ask yourself:
80km south of Canberra
Scottsdale offers regular daily placements based on Reserve needs and the volunteer's skills and interests. Some of the regular activities include nursery work, track maintenance and repair, and weed control.
50km south-east of Wagga Wagga
Tarcutta offers 2–7 day placements between February and November in weed control, fence removal, planting, weed and native vegetation monitoring, and bird surveys.
We welcome interest from enthusiastic adults (over 18 years). If you're under 18, you may be able to help with some activities with the support of a parent or guardian.
Some volunteer jobs call for specific skills or knowledge. In particular demand are land management skills, plumbers, electricians, welding skills, builders, tractor operators and ecological monitoring skills. However, other opportunities only require a can-do attitude. When volunteer positions are advertised, any prerequisites will be described.
Position descriptions give specific information about roles.
On reserves tasks include: caretaking, grounds and building maintenance, fencing, fence removal, feral animal control, weed control, ecological monitoring and other ongoing land management activities.
Office tasks include: research, administration and fundraising, events and other projects relating to the business of the organisation.
Registered volunteers are the first notified of new roles. Occasionally we organise and invite volunteers to social events, or have free tickets or other gifts to reward volunteers.
Volunteers get a chance to work in amazing locations with like-minded people to help achieve conservation outcomes. Along with a sense of camaraderie and achievement, some gain experience and skills that help on their path to employment.
We're expanding our volunteer program, but we want to ensure volunteers are safe, doing meaningful work, adequately resourced, and covered by insurance. This limits the placements available. When we have a position, initially information is emailed directly to volunteers already registered. If they can't cover the position, we may advertise.
All roles have position descriptions. Selection depends on skills, experience and availability matching the position description. There are also limited roles available for people without experience, who wish to learn new skills and become involved in the work we do.
You don't have to be a donor – volunteers are selected based on the best match to the role.
Children may be allowed if under your direct supervision, at the discretion of the supervisor (based on risks, facilities available and whether it would reduce places for other volunteers). If there are age-appropriate tasks available, your child may be able to volunteer too. Unfortunately pets can’t be brought on to any reserves.
Our work is shaped by weather events and seasons. Volunteer jobs are limited over the summer because of high temperatures, increased fire threat and monsoonal rainfall in the north so generally are not available in most locations. Similarly, weather sometimes causes volunteer activity to be postponed or cancelled. All positions are subject to change.
There’s no cost to volunteer, but you may incur out-of-pocket expenses including travel and meals. Accommodation is provided where the infrastructure is available, but sometimes you’ll need to stay in the local town at your own expense. On a priority basis, financial support for travel and food is pre-approved for some volunteer projects and activities. When a volunteer position is advertised, the availability of financial support will be explained.
We maintain Volunteer Workers personal accident insurance to cover some out-of-pocket expenses following accidental injury, disability or death while volunteering. This doesn't cover expenses from travel disruptions (including flood, fire or dust-storm). We strongly recommend you consider taking out your own travel insurance before volunteering. We also recommend an ambulance subscription.
If you're volunteering at our Melbourne CBD office, public transport is your best option and we have parking space for bicycles. However, if you're volunteering at one of our reserves you'll need to arrange your own transport as Bush Heritage is not responsible for carpooling or arranging transport. Reserves are generally remote from populated centres and without public transport. Some can only be accessed by a 4WD with high clearance.
Volunteers must provide their own food. When overnight stays are involved, we strongly recommend bringing contingency supplies in case you get stuck on location for longer than expected. Come prepared: most of our reserves are remote and shops are many hours’ drive away.
Where an overnight stay is needed we provide accommodation where possible. Facilities vary at each location and can range from a base camp to basic workers' quarters. Where there are quarters, you can expect a simple mattress, shared kitchen, showers and toilets. Campgrounds have basic facilities, including a drop toilet and a fire pit.
Your supervisor will brief you on how to work safely but remote locations can be challenging and, at times, uncomfortable. They may not have ample water or electricity and some reserves are subject to temperature extremes. You may find yourself with powdered milk and bruised fruit, without some of the entertainment you're used to. Entertainment tends to revolve instead around stargazing, sharing meals and conversation with other volunteers, comparing notes, card games, early nights, or catching up on reading.
Remote locations are many hours from medical care. If you have a significant medical condition, carefully consider your health before deciding to go.
When driving to remote places, you can expect extreme weather conditions, challenging terrain, and isolation from services. You should prepare well, be well-provisioned and equipped to cope with unexpected delays or emergencies. Planning can help to avoid hassles or potentially life-threatening situations.
Ensure you have a roadworthy vehicle, two spare tyres, good maps, first aid supplies, extra food, extra water, extra fuel, appropriate communications equipment, vehicle maintenance and recovery equipment, and an emergency plan. Few of our reserves get standard mobile network coverage, so check with your provider for coverage and hire a satellite phone if you don't have guaranteed coverage.
When driving to a remote area:
Our Volunteer Advisory Committee is a team of self-nominated volunteers from across the nation. They give us a user's perspective in the review of our volunteer systems and processes.
The committee also supports the development of new and inspiring opportunities to engage volunteers.
In National Volunteer Week we hear from three unstoppable volunteers who shared their motivations and experience. From what initially drew them to conservation volunteering to what inspires their ongoing commitment.Read More
An extensive revegetation project has been underway for the three years at Eurardy Reserve (mid-west WA). We want to know if bats are present in this new planting. Our volunteer assignment was primarily to set everything up to start recording bat activity over the coming months (and maybe years).Read More
Reflecting on what makes for a valuable, useful, and enjoyable volunteering experience is especially relevant during National Volunteer Week. We recently took a deep dive into volunteering with Rex George and Gail Holt, two of our active and committed WA-based volunteers to discuss what Bushie volunteering means to them.Read More
I was hesitant about going out to the desert to volunteer for Bush Heritage in January this year. It’s such a long way and it’s dusty and hot. But a trip to Craven’s Peak was available and I thought I should – don’t I always say, “if you haven’t tried something, don’t knock it?”Read More
With words and brush, volunteer caretaker, Angela Woltmann paints a glorious picture of Christmas spent on Ethabuka Reserve with her husband Shane.Read More
When the Volunteer Advisory Committee met in February to plan the year ahead, we never envisaged the opportunities 2020 would create for connecting the volunteer community. This year volunteers had the unexpected (but rewarding) experience of webinars presented by volunteer speakers.Read More
In this turbulent 2020 year Jord’s annual Bush Heritage trip was hosted on the Tarcutta Hills Reserve to “do some good”, have some rest and relaxation and strengthen team bonding. This COVID year we could not be joined by our workmates from overseas and interstate but nevertheless people from our Sydney and Newcastle offices took part in an activity which has become an annual institution at Jord.Read More
It has been a dream come true to spend the last two weeks helping with the spring fauna survey at Edgbaston reserve. I’m resting in the shade of the old, tin shearing shed, like the roos under the trees nearby, with some gusty afternoon breezes keeping it balmy, the sun beating down outside and a 360 degree view of vast open land. How lucky am I?!Read More
With Covid restrictions in South Australia relaxed a little, my husband Tony and I were lucky enough to spend three weeks in July volunteering at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We knew that there had been very little rain there over the past year and the magnificent River Red Gums were looking thirsty, as you would expect. What we didn’t expect was to see the profusion of wildflowers blooming in the gilgais out on the plains and in crevices on the rocky slopes. These bright little flowers bobbing in the breeze really brightened our time on the reserve.Read More
G’day! My name is Andrea, at the moment I am one of the few lucky volunteers who still gets to go to work on a Bush Heritage reserve, so I thought I’d take you along with me for a week.Read More
It had been 16 years since our last visit to Chereninup Creek Reserve, for a National Tree Day planting. That cold and blustery day was the start of a revegetation program in the mega-diverse region between the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River National Parks in southern WA.Read More
This year I was lucky enough to be accepted as a volunteer for the annual fauna trapping on Bon Bon Station Reserve. I'm a member of the 'Newcastle cluster' of Bush Heritage supporters – a small but keen group prepared to travel great distances to volunteer. So it was with great excitement that we set off on the long trek to Bon Bon in November.Read More
There’s some conjecture around which tiny marsupial is the cutest, Honey or Pygmy Possums. After seeing both popping up in the pitfall traps and nesting boxes blanketing the reserve, I can understand the debate. Over the course of five days myself and four other volunteers interacted with a broad cross-section of animals that had made homes for themselves in the newly revegetated areas.Read More
Good birding; important work; challenging and harshly beautiful environment; a very companionable group – the core elements of a really rewarding expedition.Read More
Volunteer Jan describes her time at Eurardy Reserve this spring. From tackling the double gees and cape weed, to hearing a juvenile Pied Butcher Bird learning its song, read on for a week in the life of a Bush Heritage Australia volunteer.Read More
'Back o’ Bourke' as a metaphor for a place very far from anywhere was coined for a reason. It took an hour long flight and a four-hour drive just to get to Bourke, and then another two hours on mostly dirt roads to get to the 'back' of it – Naree Reserve. But although Naree is literally 'back o’ Bourke', it rewards those with the determination to get there with a rich experience.Read More
I've just returned after spending 9 days being involved with our volunteers in the Adventurous Paddling Program, which is helping to improve fish habitat in the Murrumbidgee River near Scottsdale Reserve, as part of the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach.Read More
Autumn marks the unofficial start to the volunteer season for our remote area reserves. Michael Uhrig, volunteer team leader from Currumbin Reserve, issues a timely reminder about the importance of being well prepared for remote area travel, following his experiences during summer caretaking at Carnarvon.Read More
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 in our Liffey River reserves.Read More
Coming from mainly a plant ecology background, it was great to have the opportunity to help out on the recent trapping survey at Edgbaston reserve. We started off the week with digging pitfalls traps. This was a relatively new experience for me and I can confirm its pretty hard work in the high 30˚C heat!Read More
Mick and Kerry Moylan are long-time volunteers with Bush Heritage and their contribution can't be overstated! Here they share their experience of volunteering in Cape York for the recent Alwal Recovery Team meeting with our Olkola Aboriginal partners.Read More
A small team of dedicated volunteers have been planting vines to create habitat for Richmond Birdwing Butterflies on Currumbin Reserve in south-east Queensland.Read More
Thanks to the Western Australian Wildflower Society's help with collecting, processing, identifying and mounting thousands of plant specimens, we now have a thorough understanding of the unique plant species assemblages of Charles Darwin Reserve and Eurardy Reserve in the Mid-west of Western Australia.Read More
Back in September, Victorian-based volunteer Nathan Manders answered the call for reserve support to one of our most remote properties - Cravens Peak on the edge of the Simpson Desert. Here Nathan shares his reflections and some of his stunning images from that trip - one that he'll never forget.Read More
In September we had an amazing group of 11 volunteers make the long trek to our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve to help with vital weed management. The group were focused on our long-term management strategy to control the African Boxthorn and Pepper Trees in the beautiful Oonatra Creek system.Read More
Bush Heritage volunteering opened my eyes to a landscape that I could never have imagined. As we turned through the gate, I felt like we'd landed on the moon. We'd been driving for six hours, having refuelled at Bourke before the final 170km of dirt road to Naree Station.Read More
Our volunteer caretakers at Goonderoo play an important role in the recovery of Bridled Nailtail Wallabies (Flashjacks) at neighbouring Avocet Nature Refuge in Central Qld. As part of their weekly caretaker duties, the volunteers conduct fence inspections and check water at the Flashjack nursery. They also support feral animal control, monitoring and weeding projects in the Brigalow habitat that the Flashjacks call home.Read More
When the chance presented itself to caretake Bon Bon Station Reserve, Michael Uhrig jumped at the opportunity. He got on the phone and asked his mother June to join him - remote caretaking roles have a minimum requirement of two people, in-line with basic remote area safety protocols - you always need backup!Read More
Keith Gooley and Peter Caulder are Bush Heritage volunteers with expertise in electronics and a passion for conservation. Keith and Peter are using these skills to help us address one of the biggest threats to Australian wildlife on Boolcoomatta Reserve - feral cats.Read More
Brian Martin and Brian Crute are valued Bush Heritage volunteers who help with the seasonal sand pad monitoring on Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia. Here Brian Martin provides an account of this autumn's sand pad monitoring.Read More
Kathleen Davies and Brian Redman answered the call to volunteer at Naree Station, helping UNSW PhD student Justin McCann in his studies.Read More
Fourteen groups of volunteers kept us busy this year. Reconstructing and strengthening boundary fences was the top priority. In one particularly mammoth undertaking, volunteers managed to pull down and wind up 20km of fence in two days! On another day, two teams went out and put in an extra 2,000 posts at weak points along a fence to strengthen it.Read More
For most of Victoria, rainfall in 2015 was below or very much below average and our Nardoo Hills Reserve and the Wedderburn region were no exception. In 2016 the rains have been a little more forthcoming giving us an opportunity to get saplings into the softer grounds.Read More
Volunteers Tony and Vicky Darlington had never heard of 'sand pad monitoring' when they signed up for a stint as caretakers at Goonderoo Reserve in Central Queensland. But with some simple instructions and a little bit of practise they soon got their 'eye in' as dirt-track detectives.Read More
Peter and Margie Calder are much valued volunteers. Over the past few years they've volunteered over 20 weeks of their time to their 'local reserve' – Bon Bon Station (it's only a day's drive away). They wrote this blog entry after completing their 8th placement at Bon Bon.Read More
On Saturday 22nd August a team of seven willing weeders headed down to Currumbin Reserve, nestled beside Nicoll Scrub National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland for the first ever working bee at this small but significant patch of remnant forest.Read More
While much has been written about the benefits of volunteering to the community and environment, new research is shedding light on the physical and mental health benefits to volunteers, particularly those who volunteer in the outdoors.Read More