From improving your health and wellbeing to boosting your chances at that next job interview, there are plenty of reasons why volunteering with NSW National Parks is a great idea.
Save our home
Our climate is changing. Greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, agriculture and land clearing have caused the earth’s air and ocean temperature to increase, global sea levels to rise and weather patterns to become more extreme.
This means protecting the environment is more important than ever. After all, earth is the only home we’ve got, so we need to look after it. We need to make sure future generations have access to the spectacular landscapes and wildlife that we enjoy today.
Even something as simple as planting a tree can reduce carbon in the atmosphere, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions.
If you’re passionate about the environment and love being outdoors, there are plenty of hands-on volunteer projects at NSW National Parks that are making a real difference to the environment, from wildlife conservation and research, to tourism and education.
Fancy yourself a greenie? Volunteer with the Arakoon bushcare group, who meet once a week for a weeding bonanza.
“Volunteering is such a rewarding experience. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is passionate about Australia’s biodiversity or hoping for a career in conservation.” Cassie Thompson, Saving Our Species Mountain Pygmy Possum Project, Kosciuszko National Park
Get active, stay healthy
There are heaps of studies that say volunteering can make you feel happier and more socially connected. But it goes well beyond mental health. Giving back has shown to improve your physical health too—reducing blood pressure and increasing your lifespan.
The OECD Better Life Index says volunteers also tend to be more satisfied with their lives, because they’re interacting with other people, setting and achieving goals, and learning new things through hands-on experience. Plus, being active outdoors in the fresh air is so much better than the gym, yes?
Want to get active? Enjoy a walk in Blue Mountains National Park while restoring native habitats with the Prince Henry Cliff walk bushcare group.
“No one is sad when working outside!” Claire Bremner, Saving Our Species Booroolong Frog Survey, Dubbo
Make solid friendships
If you want to expand your social networks IRL, volunteering will connect you with like-minded peeps who share a love of nature. There’s nothing like pulling weeds, counting frogs or taking visitors on guided tours to turn strangers into friends for life. Not only will you have an amazing time, but you’ll hands down have the best stories to share. And hey, you never know who you might meet while working up a sweat (nudge nudge, wink wink).
Ready to get social? Join the friendly crew at Cape Byron Lighthouse friends and lead guided tours of the museum and lighthouse.
“Spending time with people in the field brings you closer together, having a shared experience of hard work and problem solving, relying on each other to get the job done. Those are the friendships that can last a lifetime.” Georgia Watson, Threatened Species Environmental Consultant, Sturt National Park
Enjoy the view
NSW national parks are filled with spectacular views and a diverse range of plants and animals. Not only will your friends be jealous of your Insta feed, but you’ll be out there experiencing the thrill of nature in a way you can’t do by binging on David Attenborough docos. There’s also an opportunity to mix volunteering with a weekend away, so you can enjoy a break while doing a good deed.
Hanging for a weekend away? Join a volunteering weekend in places like Marramarra National Park near Sydney.
“We searched for signs of emus with the help of detection dogs, and accessed areas that would not be available otherwise. It was very exciting.” Jack Nesbitt, Saving Our Species Endangered Coastal Emu Population Project, Mid North Coast
Beef up your skills
Bet you’ve never thought of volunteering as something that will help your career, right? In fact, adding it to your CV is a great way to demonstrate skills like teamwork, problem solving and communications. Research shows that a whopping 95% of employers believe volunteer experience will give you an advantage in job interviews, with 85% saying it’s just as credible as work experience. Giving your time, skills, ideas and enthusiasm to a project that benefits the wider community will bring you nothing but good vibes.
Want to learn new skills? Discover how to locate nests and chicks, survey beaches and install nest protection as part of the Shorebird recovery program on the South Coast.
“I’ve gained new skills that have made me much more employable.” Madison Casley, Shorebird Recovery Program, Illawarra
There are plenty of amazing opportunities to choose from and it’s easy to get involved. Just find a volunteer project near you and enjoy an unforgettable experience in a NSW national park.
“For me, volunteering provided a platform to understand what I did and didn’t want to do in my career. The skills I gained by volunteering far outweigh the connections I’ve made, socially and professionally. I can just about guarantee that volunteering with NSW National Parks will ignite a passion within you that you could never gain from textbooks and lecture slides. You’ll experience parts of our beautiful country most people never get to see.” Georgia Watson, Threatened Species Environmental Consultant, Sturt National Park
“I worked on a variety of things during my time volunteering for Saving Our Species in NSW national parks, and I soon learnt the job was quite diverse. I chose the project because it was in my hometown and I have a personal connection to the area, but volunteering helped me see it from a completely different perspective. It’s good to go somewhere completely out of your comfort zone and it’s okay to ask lots of questions. There’s so much to do, so get out there and get engaged.” Claire Bremner, Saving Our Species Booroolong Frog Survey, Dubbo
Hero image credit: Helena Lopes via Pexels. Image one ‘ Save our home’ credit: Porapak Apichodilok via Pexels