Volunteer makes the leap from land clearing to tree planting
  • Thursday 12 May 2016
CNCP Bridge Creek Bush Care volunteers Bryce Matthews and Keith Valentine

Maleny resident Bryce Matthews says he can’t stand being inside too much.

During one of his daily walks, 87 year old Bryce was invited to join a group of people doing some work in the local park. The group turned out to be the Community Nature Conservation Program’s Bridge Creek Bush Care crew.

“They invited me for a cuppa and told me about what they were doing,” said Bryce.

“They seemed like a nice bunch and said I was welcome to join them for smoko anytime…but I’m the type who likes to pull my weight so I decided I’d better come along and give them a hand.”

Wanting to do something about the weedy overgrown local park, volunteers Sally Watter and Keith Valentine worked with council to establish the group early last year.

“On our first work day we planted 500 trees,” Sally said

“It was pouring rain and we were dripping wet and dirty when we finished, but we felt an incredible sense of pride and achievement.

“We meet monthly now and plant around 100 tubestock each time. So far, we have planted more than 1800 local native rainforest trees and shrubs.”

Sunshine Coast Council Community and Environment portfolio councillor Jenny McKay said volunteers have a tremendously positive effect on our communities.

“We are blessed to have a growing culture of volunteering on the Sunshine Coast, which we really appreciate.  It is also great to get positive feedback from our volunteers about how they are getting something back from their volunteering experiences.

The ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’ theme for National Volunteers Week reflects the mutual benefits to be gained through volunteering,” Cr McKay said.

Sally said the environmental benefits were obvious but, just as important, was how it brought the local community together.

“We enjoy getting together and we have people of all ages who turn up to lend a hand,” Sally said.

“Bryce is a great motivator, he won’t stop and won’t take the easy jobs!

“He always brings along his small auger and has become our chief hole digger.”

Bryce laments that he’s been unable to spend much time with the group over summer due to the heat and ill health.

“I’m hoping to get back into it again soon and do a lot more though,” Bryce said.

“I like to mess about in the garden.  Although it’s a far cry from chaining scrub and the land clearing of my past, I really enjoy planting with the group and putting the boxes around the trees.”

“We’re just happy to have him as part of our group,” Sally said.

“Just like any of our volunteers, he is welcome to spend as much or as little time with us as he can.”

Visit Council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more information on volunteering.