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Mosaic Leather Jacket. Photo courtesy of Friends of Beware Reef

Mosaic Leather Jacket. Photo courtesy of Friends of Beware Reef

5 months ago from Parks Victoria

Marine sanctuary volunteers thanked during National Volunteer Week

Tuesday 13 May, 2014

The huge contribution volunteers make to Victoria’s parks is being acknowledged this National Volunteer Week, 12-18 May 2014.  

Locally, volunteers from the Friends of Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary are being thanked for all their work in helping to protect and understand the marine environment in this area.

Parks Victoria Ranger Team Leader, Mike Irvine said the small group of dedicated volunteers has done a tremendous amount of work including surveying fish, invertebrates and algae, identifying pest sea star species and producing detailed species guides and posters for the public and school children.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Friends group including the three very active members and Bairnsdale residents; Don Love, John Ariens and Alan Wilkins.

“The amount of work they do here in the Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary and other parks is phenomenal and their passion for all things underwater is inspiring. They have also done a lot to raise public awareness about what lies beneath the water and encourage others to get involved,” said Mr Irvine.

“The regular surveys of plant and animal species they have conducted in the sanctuary over many years will enable us to see how the sanctuary is changing and will help guide how we manage the area in the future.

“The group gives interesting community talks and presentations throughout the year, highlighted with stunning photographs and videos. They have also produced a full colour guide of plants, fish and other animals that are found here,” he said.

The Friends group has produced a dive guide to three local shipwreck sites and has gained many grants from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Coastcare Victoria Community Grants Program.

Don Love, President of the Friends Group said he, John and Alan have been diving for around 50 years and have been members of the group since it began 10 years ago.

“We all love the ocean and diving and it’s also great to be giving something back to the community,” he said.

Last year volunteers contributed a record 218,970 volunteer hours across 180 parks and reserves in Victoria. This translates to 29, 751 volunteer days and reflects the strong relationships between Parks Victoria staff and local communities.

There are many interesting and fun ways to get involved in volunteering to help care for our parks.

Parks Victoria would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.

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