This Volunteer Week, the Hawke’s Bay branch of the Department of Conservation would like to say a huge thank you to their many dedicated and hard-working volunteers.
Conservation is not something that DOC can do in isolation. We value our volunteers highly and are very grateful to all the volunteers who have pitched in on one (or many!) of our conservation projects.
In the Hawke’s Bay, DOC volunteers propagate nursery plants, join the War on Weeds, build nest boxes, and monitor and feed translocated chicks such as the petrels at Boundary Stream Mainland Island.
So, who are the Hawke’s Bay DOC volunteers, and what are their backgrounds?
Connie Norgate, DOC Operations Manager for the Hawke’s Bay says there is not one type of volunteer.
“Our volunteers come in all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities. Some are retired and want to contribute to conservation, while getting out and being social and physically active, and some are corporate groups, wanting to give back the communities in a meaningful way.
Volunteers at Boundary Stream Mainland Island prepare burrows for kōrure (mottled petrel)
Volunteers Anne Cantric, Graeme Lincoln and dog Holly check a kiwi transmitter
“Some are even school children getting out into our great outdoors for the first time, learning to plant a tree or identify a bird call.”
DOC’s volunteers contribute to important projects, like the Government’s ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of three of our most damaging introduced predators - possums, rats and stoats - by 2050.
These pests threaten our nation’s natural taonga, our economy and primary sector. We’ve made progress toward this that was once unthinkable, and our volunteers are contributing to this.
Denise Fastier, DOC Senior Ranger, says Hawke’s Bay is a relatively small community with a big heart.
“The amount of time our volunteers contribute is immense. There are volunteers out there who are seriously punching above their weight.
“Some volunteers take their kids to see some of the planting projects they’ve been involved in, then together they watch it grow into a forest or listen to a dawn bird chorus that’s much louder than it once was. You can’t buy that kind of payback!”
Why do volunteers want to help? Retired lawyer Geoff Hulbert is an avid volunteer for DOC in Hawkes Bay. He says, “There’s great satisfaction in growing and nurturing native plants and then getting out there and planting them.”
He says the amount of work his co-volunteers contribute is amazing.
“These people are pretty inspiring to work alongside. Many are in their 80s and you can learn a lot from them.”
For Bernie Kellie volunteering for DOC has come with an added bonus of forging great friendships with the DOC rangers he’s worked with.
He says he has gotten feedback from rangers that his contribution is making a tangible difference to New Zealand conservation.
Bernie says, “Plus, you get the opportunity to visit some pretty remote and special parts of New Zealand, that most people would never experience’.
No matter your age, stage or background, DOC appreciate our volunteers.
To all those Hawke’s Bay volunteers who have pitched in: thank you very much, from your friends at the Hawke’s Bay DOC office.