Sustainable Campus Bulletin: Environmental Summer Projects

Focus

Fun in the Sun: Conservation Volunteers Australia

As the weather continues to get warmer, it is more and more enticing to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. It is also Mental Health Month this October, and while exams are important, so is your mental health; getting outside is proven to relieve stress and contribute to greater productivity.

We chatted with the Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) ACT/Southern NSW Engagement Officer, Miriam Adams-Schimminger about why working on their Summer projects is  great idea to get some sun, with other enthusiastic people, while working on projects that preserve our local environment.

There are plenty of reasons to change up your routine and get involved. Being outside is inherently beneficial for people, and the CVA is keen to encourage volunteers to have a go at something that might be a bit foreign to many of us who spend increasing amounts of time inside.

Conservation Volunteers Australia is a country-wide initiative that organises projects to ensure anyone and everyone can get involved, do their bit for the environment and meet great people along the way. As the CVA says, ‘volunteering on a conservation project is a fantastic way to connect with and learn more about the local environment.’

There are a number of projects running over the next couple of months that cater to different interests. If you’re interested in preserving cultural heritage, Maintaining a Travelling Stock Reserve is on 30-31 October. If you like the sound of tree planting head along to Three Gullies Farm for a revegetation project on 23 October. Weeding, flora and fauna surveys and restoration work are also common activities, like a project at Wandiyall nature reserve on 27-28 November.

These projects are a great chance to meet people with similar interests in what can be a quiet summer period in Canberra. At its core, the projects are aiming to connect people from around the region and the world. For example, the ACT projects have attracted students taking a break from Uni from places like Germany and Japan who want to experience Australian nature first hand.

CVA is also all about accessibility – nobody needs experience, and you don’t have to be an expert [insert practical outdoors hobby] to help out.  The great thing about the projects is that they are non-committal – you can try it for one day and see how it goes. There is no pressure to come back, and there is no cost involved.

Miriam says that one of the most common testimonials she receives from students and other volunteers is the realisation that it is quite easy to start off with the work. Another huge benefit people highlight is the realisation that it is ‘so much fun to do something practical’, in contrast to the normal routine of workers and students in the city. She recommends encouraging a friend to come along for a single day project if you’re not keen on going alone.

Logistics

It is incredibly easy to get involved – the only thing you need to wear is some suitable clothing and footwear, and of course bring some snacks and a good lunch. Single day projects are free, with no transport costs involved. The CVA will pick you, and eight other volunteers, up from the city near the YHA or in Ainslie.  Bookings can be made online, or contact the super friendly staff who are always more than happy to help with any questions you might have about the program. A full program of projects can be found on the website: https://bookings.conservationvolunteers.org/

Call 62477770 or email at canberra@cva.org.au for more information.

 

Other Opportunities

Trash Mob

Join a newly formed group made of volunteers who aim to clean up Canberra’s environment, parks, waterways and neighbourhoods. They hold events most weekends and have fun while freeing our city of trash.

Frogwatch on campus

ANUgreen is organising a frogwatch week which started last Sunday, but it’s never too late to get involved. Essentially this week consists of an ‘audit’ of which species of frogs exist on campus by listening out for their unique calls and recording them. Contact ANUgreen if you’d like to get involved.

RSPCA: animal shelter maintenance

If animal welfare is more your style than conservation work, the RSPCA are always looking for volunteers to help maintain the facilities and help take care if the many animals that come to their shelters. Hours and opportunities depend on availability so check out their website for more details.

ANUgreen update: Campus Traveller

ANUgreen has introduced a new service on our campus, a shuttle bus, the Campus Traveller, which travels around the campus several times a day and also goes to the Lindsay Pryor carpark (free car park 10 minutes off the campus). In doing so, they intend to decrease the number of cars on campus. This contributes to the development of ANU’s Transport strategy and the primary goal to motivate people to use other, more sustainable, transport options when coming to our campus.