Far from being in decline, environmental volunteering is on the increase, so says Jim Sullivan, Chair of NRM WA.
While many of the more traditional landcare type groups are still attracting and retaining dedicated volunteers, there are different ways people express their support for the environment.
A report analysing social networks in natural resource management has found that many community groups, such as Rotary and Youth groups are taking on environmental volunteering.
There has been a big increase in the formation of farmer groups over the last ten years. Farmers working together, often contributing their own money and time, to address local issues such as weeds and feral pests, soil condition and water management.
‘There is a broad range of groups involved in WA’, says Jim ‘and the structure and arrangements for working with these groups differ both because of the nature of the groups, and the regional differences, across the seven NRM Regions in WA’.
In recent times, there have been over 16 000* first time participants in NRM, learning and delivering projects as part of the National Landcare Program**. The Western Australian Government has also made a commitment to Landcare through the application of Royalties for Regions funds to community projects and capacity development.
Barry and Julie from Bunbury WA, run a local Friends of Group who volunteer their time to protect their local bushland Manea Park “We love giving back by planting trees, removing weeds and treating dieback, as we enjoy being out in the environment and want to preserve the bushland and its unique species of for future generations”.
‘I hope this groundswell of effort for the environment is continued in the future, and we can build on current achievements. To sustain this activity we need continued government investment and greater coordination both across government, and with the independent regional NRM organisations’, ended Jim.
* ‘MERIT system’ Atlas of Living Australia https://fieldcapture.ala.org.au/merit
**NLP 2014-2018 https://www.nrm.gov.au/regional
For more information on NRM WA, community volunteering, and/or a regional spokesperson, contact: Kathleen Broderick, Executive Manager NRM WA, 0427 566 865, email@example.com