Each year, over 140,000 hours is volunteered by Aucklanders in our parks helping with planting days, beach clean-ups, biosecurity and much more. This National Volunteer Week (18-24 June 2017), it’s our time to recognise and celebrate the people who freely give their time, energy and skills to help make our communities great.
Mark Bowater, Auckland Council’s head of parks services, says volunteers play an important role in the care of Auckland’s parks and green spaces.
“The time given, dedication and commitment of volunteers has helped us deliver countless parks projects and improvements, and their continued support is needed for us to meet future environmental, conservation and development challenges,” he says.
In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we’re counting down the reasons why you should also strap on your volunteering shoes and get involved!
1. Makes a difference
From mending fences and picking up rubbish to planting trees and supporting community events, volunteers make a difference to our communities, parks and places in so many ways.
2. Learn new skills
Volunteering is a great way to try your hand at something new, develop your skill-set and gain experience in an industry that interests you. It’s a fun and easy way to explore a new hobby and can even open the door to a new career.
3. Meet new people
Shared activities are a great way to meet new people – especially if you are new to the area. Socialising with others is fun, has a number of health benefits and let’s be honest, we can’t have too many friends!
4. Sense of community
Volunteering helps you feel more connected to your community and gives you a sense of belonging to something bigger.
5. Gain new confidence
Volunteering is something that you choose to do, which is empowering in itself! You can challenge yourself to try something out of your comfort zone or achieve a personal goal. The experience and sense of achievement you gain from your volunteer work can carry over into other aspects of your life.
6. It’s good for us
Studies have indicated that helping others makes us feel happy. Volunteering can also help reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated and provide a sense of purpose, which ultimately leads to increased life satisfaction. Even the smallest tasks can make a real difference to you and the people around you.
What do the volunteers say?
“Our family volunteered for tree planting and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done – in fact it’s something we’d pay to do! The children now ask to go back and check on how their native trees are growing. It connected us to our regional park and the people in our community.” – Kate P from Onehunga.
“I have been volunteering at Tāwharanui Regional Park for over 15 years. I grew up in the country and love the outdoors, so being able to give back to the environment and volunteer on something I’m passionate about is a real treat. It’s a good feeling knowing that I’m helping to restore a park with endangered species, as well as creating a place that’s peaceful for all people to enjoy.” – Alison Stanes, Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society chairperson.
How can you get involved?
Auckland Council offers a range of great volunteering opportunities that you can get involved in throughout the year across a range of areas including our parks, libraries, events and community recycling centres. Here are a few opportunities coming up:
- Pestival on 24 June 2017 – find out more via Auckland Biodiversity Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tāwharanui Regional Park planting days
- Kaipatiki Project community planting days
- Visit Auckland Council for more about volunteering in our parks.