Celebrating South Australia’s 60,000 quiet achievers

Date posted: 16 May 2013

The work of tens of thousands of some the state’s quietest achievers to preserve, protect and promote iconic heritage and conservation sites is being celebrated this week.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources acting chief executive Tim Goodes says National Volunteer Week is the ideal time to reflect on the massive effort.

“About 60,000 volunteers and community members are now giving up their time to help conserve and protect our natural environment and heritage sites,” he said.

“This figure is staggering and the work the volunteers do awe-inspiring.”

The wide-ranging activities of volunteers include regenerating bushland, weeding, leading walks, protecting sand dunes, fixing fences, educating community, helping campers, heritage restoration, photography, watching dolphins and eradicating feral plants and animals.

Volunteer projects also include monitoring of species including bats, birds, animals, plants, reptiles and marine life.

“The list really is endless and the achievements remarkable,” Mr Goodes said.

There are about 140 Friends of Parks groups aligned with various parks in the state.

“Our park system covers more than one fifth of the state and it’s largely thanks to the dedication and passion of volunteers that our most precious sites are so well conserved and maintained,” Mr Goodes said.

Molecular biologist Marianne Frommer has been volunteering with the Friends of St Peter’s Billabong group for the past decade.

The group, which has more than 40 registered members, is committed to restoring and nurturing the wetland adjacent to Linear Park and improving water quality flowing into the River Torrens.

Dr Frommer says the work is “extraordinarily rewarding”.

“This area is being transformed from a more-or-less weed-infested hole into self-sufficient bushland, with plants of all ages, self-seeding occurring and wildlife coming back,” she said.

“People who come back to help month after month and year after year are hugely encouraged.”

Find out more about volunteering with DEWNR.

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Rebecca Whitfield-Baker
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