When I began volunteering I was working in the printing industry and was a recreational birdwatcher regularly visiting the park. I had previously done volunteer bird surveying with the Regent Honeyeater project, Andrew Fischer’s study of the birds of the Bathurst district at Charles Sturt University, and the Cowra Woodlands Bird Project.
I was a member of Birding NSW and worked closely with Mark Seccombe in helping set up the joint surveying program. Since retiring I have been able to spend more time in the park and have carried out surveys of birds on the One More Shot Pond and Musgrave Ponds to assess the impact of proposed dredging, as well as monitoring the Powerful Owls and nesting Tawny Frogmouths, and guiding visitors to the park wishing to photograph our birdlife.
I have also contributed to the Bird of the Month program, regularly assisted Amara in her monitoring of the Lachlan Swamp flying fox colony and promoted the birdlife of the park at Science in the Swamp.
The greatest benefit of being in the park is the simple spiritual renewal of being in contact with the natural environment in our community. The benefit of volunteering is seeing that my time in the park contributes to a greater understanding of that environment, and the potential to asses the positive or negative impacts of activities in the park. I take great personal satisfaction in showing visitors around our park and hearing them sing its praises.
I think we all should realize that the Park is not just a collection of playing fields and open areas for events, tracks for walkers, joggers and bicycle riders , a place to exercise your dogs or let your kids run free, it is all of these things held together in an exceptional environment in the heart of Sydney, and like all natural environments the park needs to be nurtured and protected from thoughtless abuse. This is a special place we hold in trust for our future generations.
Learn more about the diverse range of volunteer programs at the Centennial Parklands here.