Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has thanked the thousands of volunteers who’re part of the Predator Free 2050 movement and help DOC protect our threatened species.
“New Zealanders are among the most generous people in the world when it comes to volunteering and lending a helping hand. More conservation work is being done now than at any time in our history and volunteers are a significant part of conservation success stories,” Ms Barry says.
“There are an ever increasing number of New Zealanders helping with the Battle For Our Birds, War on Weeds and working towards Predator Free 2050 in their local communities, helped by the DOC Community Fund which provides approximately $4.6 million per year for community conservation projects.”
Ms Barry says DOC works in partnership with approximately 900 voluntary community groups.
“DOC has a fundamental ‘working with others’ approach to conservation. Volunteers help us to do more conservation work and in return for their hard work and efforts they are able to step forward, act on the issues that affect them and take ownership of changes they want for themselves and their community.”
“This is National volunteer Week and we should all celebrate those who give their time and effort to help others and I especially want to thank everyone who has worked on conservation and environment projects,” Ms Barry says.
Ms Barry says personal experiences and connections with nature provide powerful benefits for people’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
“Connecting with nature has been shown to improve concentration, it buffers us against stress and improves the immune system. It significantly improves mood, enhances wellbeing and provides greater life satisfaction,” Ms Barry says.
“During National Volunteer Week, the Department of Conservation will be celebrating volunteers in several ways including ‘thank you’ afternoon teas and acknowledgements.”
There are:14-15,000 people that volunteer to help DOC with its projects every year. 37,500 volunteer days are contributed from those volunteers. 54% of volunteers participated in tree planting. 43% of volunteers participated in protection or restoration of forest, wetland, marine habitats or species. 34% of volunteers participated in pest control.