For two decades, the dedicated volunteers of the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s Community Environment Program (CEP) have been helping maintain, protect and enhance the region’s reserves and open space network for present and future generations. The program currently has over 120 volunteers across several groups. Some of these groups work in the nursery, while others work in a number of bushland reserves.

Tricia, Christel, Alice, John, Vanessa and Ross are among the volunteers at the Fraser Coast Community nursery, spending hours each week propagating thousands of native plants to enhance and protect the region’s biodiversity. Other CEP volunteers in the bushland areas help the council maintain bushland areas by weeding; and planting to restore bushland.

Passionate stewards of the environment, the CEP volunteers share a common goal: to preserve and celebrate the beauty of the local ecosystems. Their focus on native plants reflects their deep-seated commitment to sustainability and ecological conservation.

One of the most memorable aspects of their volunteer journey is the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of local plant species. Through hands-on activities such as, seed collection, seed extraction, sowing, pricking-out and potting up as well as weeding, they have gained valuable plant identification skills, as well as insights into the intricacies of the region’s vegetation, fostering a deeper connection to the land they steward.

However, what truly leaves a lasting impression on the CEP volunteers is the camaraderie and sense of community fostered within the group. Beyond their shared passion for environmental stewardship, they cherish the friendships forged and the joy of working alongside like-minded individuals who share their enthusiasm for nature.

When asked to describe their volunteer journey, the CEP volunteers collectively agree that it can be encapsulated in the words “Friendship, exploration, and knowledge.” Through their shared experiences, they have not only deepened their understanding of the local ecosystem but also cultivated enduring friendships and embarked on a journey of continuous learning and discovery.

As they continue to nurture the land and cultivate friendship, the volunteers of the Community Environment Program stand as shining examples of the transformative power of collective action and shared passion in safeguarding the natural world for future generations.