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Parks Victoria says “Thanks a Million” to volunteers at Plenty Gorge Park

Friday 10 May, 2013

National Volunteer Week, which runs from 13-19 May 2013, is giving Parks Victoria the chance to say a special thank you to its many volunteer groups across the state.

Mill Park Garden Club are a dedicated group of gardening enthusiasts who provide ongoing volunteer support towards maintaining and developing the Le Page Homestead gardens situated within the Hawkstowe Picnic Area at Plenty Gorge Park. The club will celebrate its 20th birthday in May, with 17 of those years at the park.

The Volunteers come together on a bi monthly basis to carry out routine maintenance of the gardens. The project provides hands on opportunities for volunteers to contribute to and enhance the park for the wider community to experience and enjoy.

Plenty Gorge Park offers a wide diversity of natural, cultural and recreational experiences and opportunities only 20 Km from the CBD. The historic Le Page Homestead dates back to the 1850’s and is now the focal point of the Hawkstowe Picnic Area.

The club has received recognition from the City of Whittlesea for, “Community Group of the Year” in its Australia Day awards along with appearing on the Channel 7 TV program, “Better Homes and Gardens”. The gardens demonstrate sustainable gardening methods. This is evident in the Potager garden that has been developed from what was once remnant gnarly old quince trees planted for the homestead orchard garden.

The volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and various ages. Some are more active than others, but all contribute in their own way towards the enhancement of the gardens.

 “The volunteers provide valuable on ground support to the park. Their work is testament to their efforts; this is evident in the positive feedback we receive from many of our park visitors,” said Parks Victoria Acting Ranger in Charge Barry Coombes.

There are around 200 volunteer and Friends groups who donate their time and energy to Victorian parks, reserves, and marine sanctuaries throughout the year. Last financial year they contributed over 20,000 days of unpaid work, and the figure for this year looks likely to pass that with over 19,000 volunteer days already contributed.

Around six million people of all ages and backgrounds volunteer around Australia each year, representing over a third of our nation’s population. Parks Victoria’s volunteers are involved in many different activities, ranging from tree planting and revegetation projects, to campground hosting, cultural site protection, running plant nurseries and clearing park tracks.

For more information about becoming a park or waterway volunteer call Parks Victoria on 13 1963.

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