It's National Volunteer Week - meet some of our vollies!

Friday, 24 May 2024

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It’s National Volunteer Week: meet some of our vollies!

National Volunteer Week is a chance to celebrate our volunteers and thank them for the vital work they do. They truly are the heroes of our bird conservation efforts around the country.

Three ladies with arms up celebrating
Left to right: Kathy Clark, Judith Hoyle and Sheena Gillman celebrating the win at Toondah Harbour. Photo by Chris Walker

This year’s National Volunteer Week theme is ‘Something For Everyone,’ and this couldn’t be more true at BirdLife Australia. We simply couldn’t do what we do without our dedicated volunteers of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences who volunteer their time, energy, and skills across a variety of vital areas of our organisation. Today and every day, we want to thank them for their incredible efforts across the country in the name of bird conservation.

Meet Birds on Farms volunteer David Pool

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David Pool out in the field

David Pool has been a BirdLife Australia member since 1985. He says that it’s his membership that has presented so many different opportunities to get involved in bird conservation. For almost 40 years now, David has been out in the field volunteering on our bird conservation projects – from searching for threatened parrots, to conducting Birdata surveys. He has submitted over 7,300 Birdata surveys across Australia, specialising in repeat surveys, which are a vital tool for monitoring how bird populations are faring.

However, it’s his efforts in our Birds on Farms project that are truly remarkable. He conducts regular surveys at 22 different sites on farming properties scattered across the western half of Victoria. And each year he seems to add another property or two to his list of survey sites, with plenty of people on the land keen to share the results of the conservation actions they’ve taken on their properties.

Meet Librarians Jane Robinson and Lachlan Garland 

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Jane Robinson at BirdLife Australia’s National Office library

Our volunteers make a real impact and are vital to our bird conservation work – and not just out in the field! Jane Robinson and Lachlan Garland have both served as BirdLife Australia’s volunteer librarians for well over a decade.

Jane and Lachlan have transformed the library from a collection of dusty books and journals into a cutting-edge electronic resource available to everyone. They have worked tirelessly to retain the library’s key ornithological content, acquire new materials, and provide access to the full back catalogue that was once only available at BirdLife Australia’s National Office.

Thanks to Lachlan and Jane’s dedication, BirdLife Australia’s scientists and researchers now have a comprehensive, state-of-the-art ornithological resource at their fingertips.

Meet Judith Hoyle, BirdLife Australia Board Member

lady with arms in the air
Judith Hoyle at Toondah Harbour celebrating the win, photo by: Chris Walker

While Judith Hoyle humbly describes herself as “just a granny and a birdwatcher”, she was at the heart of our successful campaign to save Queensland’s Toondah Harbour – where she has been watching birds since 1988.

Previously the Convenor of BirdLife Southern Queensland and Chair of the Toondah Alliance, Judith Hoyle is now a BirdLife Australia board member. She started volunteering with the branch in 2012, and joined the fight against Walker Corporation’s proposal to destroy internationally significant wetlands at Toondah Harbour from the beginning.

After a campaign lasting almost a decade, this fight was finally won in April when Walker Corporation withdrew its proposal. This wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless campaigning of Judith and other dedicated volunteers like Kathy Clark and Sheena Gillman – who never gave up the fight to save the bay and the birds that call it home.

Meet our BirdLife East Gippsland branch 

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BirdLife Australia’s CEO, Kate Millar (8th from right) with BirdLife East Gippsland members and volunteers, photo by: David Young

BirdLife Australia’s CEO, Kate Millar recently spent some time with our BirdLife East Gippsland branch conducting bird surveys at Jones Bay.

BirdLife East Gippsland volunteers have built an incredible 40-year data set on the birds that live in Gippsland Lakes. Starting off as paper folders spanning decades and containing over 4,000 bird surveys, this vital data has now been entered into BirdLife Australia’s Birdata database and contributes to ongoing bird conservation efforts in the region.

BirdLife East Gippsland has held bird outings for their members every week for nearly 42 years – a remarkable feat for a small branch and a testament to the sustained passion and dedication of all involved.

Meet Gluepot Reserve volunteers Ian and Rebecca 

Gluepot is a conservation reserve owned and managed by BirdLife Australia and its volunteers. Spanning over 54,000 hectares, Gluepot is Australia’s largest remaining area of intact Mallee habitat. It is home to no fewer than 18 nationally threatened bird species, 53 species of reptiles, and 12 species of bats – some of which are also nationally threatened. Few areas in the world support such a concentration of Endangered species.

Thanks to the dedicated work of volunteers like Ian and Rebecca, Gluepot Reserve continues to win national and international conservation awards.

The ongoing conservation efforts at Gluepot Reserve would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers and the necessary funding to support their work. You can contribute to this important work by supporting our strategic plan to save Mallee birds and their habitat.

BirdLife Australia’s conservation work would not be possible on such a large scale without our branches and extensive network of volunteers, who truly are the champions for bird conservation in Australia. 

This National Volunteer Week, become a BirdLife Australia volunteer! Visit our website to learn how you can join our mission to save Australia’s birds from extinction and find the right volunteering opportunities for you.