NATIONAL Volunteer Week is special this year for Conservation Volunteers Australia. It marks 30 years since the group was founded in Ballarat.
And to mark the occasion, CVA has returned to its first major project — the Yarrowee River.
Glen Silk, part of the team cleaning around the wetlands of the river in Redan, said his work with CVA was anything but a chore.
“I’m 63 and I’d been working in a factory my whole life, so it’s nice to be outside for a change,” Mr Silk said.
“I love the environment, so this isn’t work — it’s pleasure.”
Mr Silk also worked with the CVA in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs earlier this year to clean up flood damage.
Mr Silk often walks around the wetlands of the Yarrowee River, so sees his work there as particularly important.
“You have to look after what you’ve got, otherwise it’ll be gone,” he said.
The team has been cleaning the tracks of the wetlands by removing litter, planting trees and clearing dead foliage and weeds, as well as working in the river.
Mr Silk is one of more than 10,000 volunteers across Australia and New Zealand who volunteer at CVA each year.
The CVA’s head office is still in Ballarat where it originated in 1982, but now there are 24 offices across the country.
Team Leader of the Yarrowee River project Ian Grace has been with CVA on and off for almost seven years and says the volunteers are vital.
“It’s a lot of work and effort, the work for the CVA volunteers, but a lot of them keep coming back,” Mr Grace said.
“We wouldn’t have a team without the volunteers, they don’t get enough credit.
“It’s really rewarding to be able to finish the day and see the results of your work.”
Volunteers are being recognised throughout the country this week for National Volunteer Week (May 14 - 20).
A flag-raising ceremony will be held today to open the week at the Ballarat Town Hall, and the Volunteer Recognition Awards on Saturday will recognise the work of volunteers.