Volunteer Workshop

Posted by Rose Robson , July 2011  •

The Rottnest Island Authority organised a Volunteer Workshop in April. They invited 4 representatives from each of the groups;- the Rottnest Volunteer Guides Association, Winnit Club, Rottnest Conservation Foundation and your Society.

It was a well-structured and informative day and it made us all appreciate how much work and resources go in to organising the whole volunteering experience.

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Along with other group leaders, Eric Moxham gave our presentation to the Workshop. Each had been asked to describe their organisation’s Mission, program management, recruitment and selection, supervision and safety using “10 Essentials of a Volunteer Program” by Martin J Cowling. Each Group was provided with a worksheet to identify 3 things that are great and 3 things that need improvement and, to keep you informed, here is Rottnest Society’s submission:

3 things that are great…

  • We give many people –including newcomers of all ages- the opportunity to contribute to the Island and to appreciate its unique character.
  • We work hard in our lobbying role to represent the wishes of the WA community regarding the development and implementation of the RIMP in accordance with the RI Act.
  • Since 1997, our volunteer labour force has planted up to 25.000 seedlings each year as well as carrying out dune restoration work and removing unwanted exotic species such as “sea spurge”.

3 things that need improvement…

  • Finding and retaining younger members with appropriate skills to serve on the committee of the Rottnest Society.
  • Ensuring that all necessary resources are readily available for volunteers when they arrive on the island to commence work
  • To develop closer liaison with other volunteer groups to promote the well-being of Rottnest’s environment, character and culture

The main message I got from the workshop was that Volunteering has changed over the years becoming much more regulated.  Rottnest Island is such a well loved icon that it has more potential volunteers than the Rottnest Island Authority have the resources to gainfully use.  Some of this Society’s complaints about lack of trees or tools or productive tasks to perform are simply a result of a very tight budget. 

The Rottnest Island Authority places great value on the contribution of the Volunteers.  We thank them for that while acknowledging that the Volunteers, of all stripes, are a great bunch of people.

At the end of the workshop Sue Folks of the  Rottnest Society asked that the following statement be recorded: 
“On behalf of the Rottnest Society and herself she would like to publicly acknowledge how impressed they are with the work of Sally Sneddon, Jessica McShane and all other RIA staff.”  All attendees concurred.   All I can add is Hear, hear!