NCA Volunteers 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.
The volunteer programs were interrupted this year due to COVID-19. Programs at the National Capital Exhibition were suspended from 16 March 2020, and volunteers only returned to the Exhibition in early 2020-21. The horticulture program was suspended from 30 March and resumed on 29 June 2020. Risk assessments were conducted and tailored training was provided to volunteers to ensure they could conduct their activities safely and in accordance with COVID-19 requirements.
Horticulture Volunteers 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 2019-20, three new volunteers joined the horticulture volunteers. A total of 66 Horticulture Volunteers contributed 1, 482 hours across 741 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 2019-20, 22 Volunteer Guides and Greeters contributed 737.5 hours across 247 shifts.
Research Volunteers Research Volunteers work within projects with specific tasks. In 2019-20 this included photographing collection objects and identifying them, and editing research compiled about Blundells Cottage.
During 2019-20, one Research Volunteer contributed 130.45 hours across 40 shifts.
Conservation Volunteers To help manage the conservation areas of the NCA’s Estate, the NCA has 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, some 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 the 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.
The NCA received significant and greatly appreciated assistance of volunteers of ACT Wildlife, the ACT Government’s Biosecurity Veterinary Officer and other vets of the ACT following the hailstorm in January 2020. ACT Wildlife volunteers cared for over 60 injured flying foxes, including adults, juveniles or pups until they were fit for release.