I’ve been a volunteer with various organisations for many years. Most recently I’ve been a member of The Wilderness Society’s Westside group (more about that later!). Why do I volunteer? Well, with a full time job and grown up kids I have the time to get involved with groups in which I have an interest and can meet like-minded people who share my views, in this case a shared passion for protecting our natural environment. 

    For me, volunteering is a fun way to get involved with my local community, do things I like doing and meet new people in the process. No doubt that philosophy applies to many people who volunteer, whatever their interests are. I suppose I got my interest in volunteering from my late parents, both of whom were active community members who volunteered to assist a range of different groups. My late mother, for example, volunteered with the Williamstown Opportunity Shop in Stevedore Street for many years until she became too old to do so. For my mother, who grew up in a different era when fathers worked and mothers generally didn’t, volunteering was a part of life.

    In my case I’ve been actively involved with The Wilderness Society for over a decade, having been a member since the early 1980s when Tasmania’s Franklin River was going to be dammed by the Tasmanian Government and its Hydro Electricity Commission, but was saved from this environmental destruction through community action. 

    Far from being a ‘brown leech-ridden ditch’ as the Tasmanian Premier, Robin Gray, described it at the time, the river is now an internationally recognised tourism icon! It was that pivotal moment that influenced my decision to join The Wilderness Society four years ago and work with other like-minded community members to establish The Westside Wilderness Group. Our Group epitomises why I like volunteering. 

    Our monthly meetings are an opportunity to discuss our shared values and plan our activities such as protecting Victoria’s magnificent tall forests from logging. These forests comprise the tallest flowering plants in the world (Mountain Ash) and are home to critically endangered native animals such as Greater Gliders (a possum with wings!) and Leadbeater’s Possums, Victoria’s faunal emblem. 

    I won’t go into the politics of logging, but protecting our native flora and fauna is the reason I volunteer with The Wilderness Society and helped establish the Westside Group. It will continue to be a lot of fun volunteering with great people who share my interests to achieve a better outcome for our environment.

    If you are interested in getting involved with our Group or hearing how you can take action for nature in our local area sign up to volunteer via the QR code or 

    I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience with volunteering. Whatever your interests (like writing articles for community newspapers!) it’s a lot of fun getting involved in the community and meeting like-minded people! Have fun out there! 

    Leadbeater’s Possum (photo: D. Harley)

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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