As a small group comprising only five to six volunteers at the time, Anglesea Coast Action was pondering the problem of how to find the resources needed to control erosion in a popular coastal reserve.
The group had developed a solution that involved lining a stormwater drainage channel with rock, which sounded simple enough. Implementing that solution would, however, take at least a year of monthly working bees due to the small number of hands available to do the work.
Through Coast Action/Coastcare, the group established a connection with some young university students staying at a local camp who had expressed a desire to do some voluntary work in the area.
The students readily agreed to help Anglesea Coast Action and, within one hour, the task was finished (about 40-metres of rock lining).
The benefits of the students’ involvement went way beyond providing the extra hands and muscle to get the job done.
A strong sense of camaraderie between the young students and the more mature volunteers contributed to an enjoyable experience for all concerned. The students seemed to gain a great deal of satisfaction in helping to look after the coast, which uplifted the spirits of the Coast Action members.
Anglesea Coast Action has since replanted the area with indigenous species, with the result attracting much positive feedback from the local community, including residents, visitors, volunteers and land managers.
This experience illustrates:
- the benefits of partnerships, in terms of bringing others into projects to work together – many hands really do make light work
- the importance of having an experienced and responsible group leader to organise and coordinate project activities
- the need to plan ahead to ensure the activity is well organised and run on the day – the logistics of this project were important, particularly in relation to sourcing materials and equipment, and supervising volunteers, and
- the positive outcomes achieved through good communication, including gaining the approval and support of relevant land manager/s.
Story provided by Carl Rayner, Anglesea Coast Action