The NCA established its first volunteer program in 2001 to complement its role of fostering awareness about Canberra as the National Capital. Volunteers come from the local community and contribute their experience and knowledge in a variety of ways. Volunteers are provided with a range of training opportunities to assist them to successfully undertake their role as ambassadors for Canberra. Volunteers also have the opportunity to participate in group activities, allowing them to expand their knowledge about the nation’s capital in an informal and enjoyable manner. The NCA’s volunteer program is divided into Horticulture Volunteers, Volunteer Guides and Greeters, and Research Volunteers.
Through a 2018-19 volunteer recruitment drive, we were fortunate to gain an additional nine horticulture volunteers who contribute significantly to the NCA’s heritage rose gardens, four Volunteer Guides and two Volunteer Greeters.
Since launching the program in 2004, the Horticulture Volunteers undertake defined gardening activities in the Old Parliament House Gardens. Five teams of volunteers help to look after the Broinowski and Rex Hazelwood Rose Gardens in the Senate Garden, and the Macarthur and Ladies Rose Gardens in the House of Representatives Garden.
During 2018-19, 70 Horticulture Volunteers contributed 3,292 hours across 1,646 shifts.
Volunteer Guides and Greeters
Volunteer Guides share their time, skills and knowledge with visitors to the National Capital Exhibition and Blundells Cottage. They also conduct guided walking tours of Anzac Parade, Reconciliation Place, the Old Parliament House Gardens, the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin and the National Carillon on special occasions.
During 2018-19, 22 Volunteer Guides and Greeters contributed 1,993 hours across 513 shifts.
Research Volunteers work within projects with specific tasks. In 2018–19, this included textiles work, conducting extensive research related to Blundells Cottage, cataloguing items for the NCA Library, and providing administrative assistance for programs at the National Carillon. During 2018–19, one Research Volunteer contributed 139 hours across 42 shifts.
To manage the conservation areas of the NCA’s Estate, the NCA has formed partnerships with several volunteer groups to undertake on-ground works, obtaining separate grant funding for conservation works and assistance with public advocacy on conservation management. The conservation areas of the NCA’s Estate include Stirling Park, State Circle Woodland and Yarramundi Grasslands.
Through an Environmental Care Agreement with the Friends of Grasslands, over 100 volunteers have undertaken many hundreds of hours of works in partnership with the NCA in these conservation areas. Utilising expert volunteers and local residents, they undertake weed control, native planting, sensitive species and weed surveys, and provide a strong advocacy role within this community.
The NCA also utilises the specialist skills of other volunteer groups such as the ACT Rural Fire Service (RFS) to assist specific on-ground tasks specified in the Bushfire & Works Plan for NCA Conservation Areas. Several hundred hours were provided by the RFS this year for three hazard reduction burns.