- Saturday 17 May 2014
Every year, thousands of people flock to the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens, to picnic, take a walk, view the variety of plant species and, most of all, relax.
The haven has been made possible thanks to thousands of hours of work by dedicated volunteers, working closely with Sunshine Coast Council staff, to plant, weed and construct pathways, tracks and retaining walls.
This week (May 12-18) is National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to celebrate the power of volunteering and to say “thank you” to our volunteers for their individual and collective gifts to the community.
Bob Ducrou, 67, is a member of the Friends of Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens and one of their “construction crew”. He also holds the position of secretary and writes the Friends newsletter.
The former electrical engineer has volunteered at the gardens for six years and enjoys hearing visitors say how magnificent the grounds are.
“When you say to them most of the work has been done by volunteers, they are blown away,” Bob said.
“We have an incredible range of talented people – teachers, bank managers, tradespeople, farmers and a surgeon who does incredible woodwork. Another has a PhD in agricultural science.”
While Bob and the 35 volunteers who gather each Tuesday make a difference, they also enjoy the social aspect.
Bob encouraged others who enjoyed the fresh air and exercise to consider volunteering at the gardens.
“Many Friends work here every Tuesday but there is flexibility to join in when you want to, to choose the tasks you want and to work the hours you want,” he said.
“There is always someone on hand to show you the ropes and you don’t have to have any horticultural knowledge. It’s about finding something you can do, and like doing.”
The garden includes 6km of paths and trails which help visitors explore and appreciate the diverse bushland environments including wetlands, fern glades, forests and rocky creeks.
Bob said the volunteers’ work helped preserve a wonderful block of natural bushland and continued the wildlife corridor.
Sunshine Coast Council Finance Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson acknowledged the many volunteers who gave back to the community– caring for the environment and parklands, welcoming visitors or helping improve literacy and reading skills at our libraries.
“Volunteers make a difference to the world. Our community and the environment benefit from our residents who go the extra mile just because they want to.
“Volunteering is an opportunity to give back to the community and being involved in doing something you love. It’s a life choice and a win:win for everyone.”
Cr Thompson said people of all ages and backgrounds could volunteer and everyone had something they could contribute.
Visit council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for information on how you can volunteer.