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Lynne Cusack

Volunteering since 1999

I joined the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney Volunteers in 1999, just in time to be part of the Sydney 2000 Olympics program. I had visited the Garden on an Open Day some years back and always wanted to become involved with this special place.

I grew up on the Far North Coast of NSW where lush tropical surroundings made me aware of the beauty of the natural world. Then my teaching career allowed me to travel both in Australia and overseas, where I loved learning about different plants and gardening styles. Becoming a Volunteer at the Garden in 1999 opened up a new world of opportunity and enjoyment.

What are the benefits of Volunteering ?

I enjoy being part of a community, which cares deeply for, and works to protect, our natural environment. As a Volunteer, you feel you have a chance to do something practical towards these goals. Volunteering gives me the opportunity to pursue a lifelong love of plants by learning about their history and cultivation. I have had the opportunity to design special themed walks of the Garden on various topics such as; “Plants and Music” and “Plants and Maths”. I also enjoyed researching fascinating people like Charles Darwin for special events in the Garden. I love learning about the exciting scientific discoveries and research being carried out and celebrated by the Garden's staff and volunteers. 

Being a Guide has helped me to develop and become more confident as a person. This has come through accepting and embracing challenges. I spent many years on the Guides Committee in various roles. I was the Head Guide during an exciting period when we hosted the Australasian Volunteer Guides Biennial Conference in Sydney in 2015. Meeting interesting people who visit the Garden and join our walks, or who drop into the Garden’s Visitor Centre to ask a question or stop for a chat, gives me great satisfaction and an opportunity to share stories of the plants and this amazing Garden. 

What have you been doing during COVID -19 to keep busy?

During the COVID-19 period, I have had time to give my garden lots of attention – tidying up, planting and planning. Also, I have been in constant contact with my Volunteering community throughout this whole period. Our Volunteer Managers have designed projects to be followed up at home.