South Coast Natural Resource Management has launched a new program to encourage environmental volunteering while giving people hands-on conservation and cultural experiences.
Environment Minister Reece Whitby visited Lake Seppings on Wednesday last week to present South Coast NRM with a Lotterywest grant of $505,129.
The grant will help the Albany-based organisation employ coordinators in Albany and Esperance for its new South Coast Enviro-Experiences program.
Delivered with the support of Volunteering WA, the program is designed to give people appealing experiences such as hands-on citizen science and Noongar family fields days.
But its overarching goal is to strengthen the on-ground and governance capabilities of volunteer environmental organisations.
The program will trial an end-to-end volunteer management system to make it easier for grassroots groups to advertise their events and connect with volunteers.
“The south coast region has a strong history of volunteering for the environment, but the numbers are down and a smaller number of people provide repeat efforts,” South Coast NRM chief executive Justin Bellanger said.
“South Coast Enviro-Experiences will encourage volunteerism across the south coast and increase the capacity of environment groups to grow and manage their volunteers.
“In turn, this will support the community to care for our natural heritage.”
Other experiences on offer will include monitoring of threatened animal species, grassroots restoration and clean-up sessions, “salty summers” beach activities during summer school holidays and bi-monthly community events to foster “the next generation of environmental custodians”.
The Noongar family field days would be co-designed with Noongar elders to share traditional ecological knowledge and practices.
“Volunteering is a key component of conserving native plants, animals and landscapes for our current and future generations,” Mr Whitby said.
“The intersect between volunteering and the environment is critical. When you give support to volunteering, the return you get for the community and our environment is massive.”
South Coast NRM has received more than $3.5 million in Lotterywest grant funding since 2009.