Caring for the environment  |  17 Jun 2019

Christchurch’s unsung green guardians of city parks are in the spotlight as National Volunteer Week celebrates their collective contribution to our community.

Christchurch City Council Parks Programmes and Partnerships Manager Kate Russell says many volunteers can be found scrambling over hills and devotedly working in parks in greater Christchurch each year.

“We are very fortunate to have an army of volunteers who help preserve and restore our wonderful green spaces for the benefit of the wider community,” Ms Russell says.

“However, we always welcome more people who share a common goal as we work to protect our environment for generations to come.

“Volunteers are an integral part of our green space preservation and regeneration. Without those people, we would not be able to carry out so much valuable park work across the region.”

Ms Russell says it is also a great opportunity to “get active, meet new people and engage with the environment”.

“Volunteers have contributed more than 19,000 hours to their local environments,” she says.

However, Ms Russell says the necessary work far outweighs the present resources.

“We have many projects under way or in the pipeline that need volunteer support,” she says.

“All this work is vital for biodiversity, providing an improved habitat for wildlife by cleaning up and providing food sources.”

At present, volunteers are working in the Travis Wetland, Port Hills, Styx Mill and the Charlesworth Wetland and South New Brighton, along with carrying out numerous planting days across the city over the next few months.

Volunteer work can range from park maintenance to new plantings, weeding and litter collection.

Volunteers are also involved with community gardens and community art projects, mountain-bike and walking track maintenance and reserve management.

“People of all ages volunteer in our parks, from children to retirees,” Ms Russell says.

“Many are from corporate and service groups. For some, it is a form of nature therapy while others simply want to ‘give back’ and benefit their wider backyard.

“Most importantly, all contribute where and when they can. And we want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all those who are contributing to our green spaces.”

If you want to find out more about volunteering in parks, contact the Council online or the call centre on 941-8999.

National Volunteer Week 2019 runs from 16 to 22 June.