Assets with Eyes

Volunteers - lifeblood of the community

26 May 2020

Did you know more than 6 million Australians willingly donate their time for the common good of the community, without any financial gain? But they gain a different kind of wealth – new skills and knowledge, better physical and mental health, a sense of achievement and fulfilment, personal and professional connections, and many new friendships. Volunteers come from all walks of life, and they bring diverse life experiences and skillsets to the organisations that engage them; in many cases, volunteers form the backbone of important projects that would not otherwise be possible.

The Authority has a long history of engaging volunteers and benefiting from their passion and expertise. Environmental conservation was a key management focus in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 ‘Green Games’ as it is today, and volunteers have been involved in ecological monitoring programs at the Park since 1995. These programs have grown uninterrupted over the years through the dedication of volunteers, and the vast amounts of data they have collected provide the foundation for long-term assessment of trends in species diversity and distribution, and inform conservation and management strategies for the Park’s various biodiversity assets. This National Volunteer Week (May 18 to 24), we would like to say a big thank you to all of our volunteers who collectively donated over 1,000 hours to the Authority in 2019-20, and highlight their important contribution to the Park:

  • Since 2004, over 40 volunteers from Cumberland Bird Observers Club (CBOC) have donated hundreds of hours each year to survey birds across the Park. They have allowed the Authority to chart increases and declines by species, and they also produce delights such finding new or rare species for the Park e.g. Scarlet Robin. CBOC volunteers also assist with surveys of Latham’s Snipe and migratory shorebirds, species protected by international treaties.
  • The Australian Herpetological Society (AHS) have undertaken annual reptile monitoring in the Park since 2004. Members have unearthed rare species such as the Blackish Blind Snake; provided support in identifying the invasive Red-eared Slider Turtle, and captured abandoned snakes to take into care.
  • The Frog and Tadpole Study Group have conducted auditory surveys for frogs each summer since 2006, providing information on the Park’s frog abundance with particular focus on the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog.
  • Monitoring of a White-striped Freetail Bat maternity colony began in 2008, the longest running project of its kind. Volunteers assist with catching and microchipping bats each autumn, providing information on their longevity, roost fidelity and population size.
  • Birdlife Australia volunteers set up and monitor EagleCAM each year, bringing life at the nest of a pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles in the Park into the homes of an international audience.
  • Volunteers from the Newington and Wentworth Point War on Waste group remove litter from Haslams Creek Flats each month, reducing harm to flora and fauna.

There isn’t enough room to list all of the contributions made by our volunteers, and the Authority is grateful for the support we have received over so many years. If you would like to become a volunteer, please visit our website, or have a look at GoVolunteer and NSW Volunteering.

CBOC volunteers survey birds rain hail or shine during the annual Spring Bird Census (c) Jen O'Meara
A reptile survey involves spending a lot of time looking under rocks and logs
SOPA staff, ecologists and volunteers getting ready to catch microbats

CBOC volunteers survey birds rain hail or shine during the annual Spring Bird Census

A reptile survey involves spending a lot of time looking under rocks and logs

SOPA staff, ecologists and volunteers getting ready to catch microbats

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