Passion mashing with seeds, bees and cheese

Valuing volunteerism - learning, helping and sharing a meal

Passion mashing with seeds, bees and cheese

Valuing volunteerism - learning, helping and sharing a meal

Local Links - Stronger Communities

The issue

Landcare is based on people working together as part of a community to make positive change.  We rely heavily on people volunteering their time to present or attend workshops or activities, outside their daily routines.  It is vitally important that we make our events as enjoyable as possible to keep volunteers engaged.    

The solution

Central Tablelands Landcare Group try to employ the notion of 'passion mashing' in their activities, meaning we offer a mix of activities at the one event to engage our volunteers and maintain their enthusiasm. This can include offering two information sessions on completely different topics, or information sessions combined with hands on activities. Food is also a common theme - we always try to provide a good meal to thank our volunteers for their efforts.

In the seeds, bees and cheese example, a landholder requested assistance weeding his seed production area.  Central Tablelands Landcare Group has established three seed production areas to enable native plant seed production and collection for propagation and growing out suitable species for our revegetation projects. We wanted to attract some volunteers to help our landholder with his weeding.  We combined the weeding with an information session about seed collection methods on some of our local Acacia species, and had a tour of a bee friendly garden with a collection of bee hives, followed by a supper of cheese and biscuits. 

The impact

Our seeds, bees and cheese afternoon was very well received with 15 volunteers spending two hours weeding the seed production area.  Participants learnt all about the habit and seed production of indigofera australis, Acacia melanoxylon and Hardenbergia, all mid story species in our endangered ecological community Grassy White Box Woodland.  The success of the day was the fact that all of the participants wanted to stay on to explore the native garden, complete with four different type of bee hives.  The group learnt all about growing a bee friendly garden and all the benefits of pollinators in our environment.  The afternoon was wrapped up by a social round of cheese and biscuits with further discussions about native vegetation and its merits. 

Combining an activity with information and a social reward at the end adds value to community events, especially where volunteers are concerned.  People giving up their time to help others is extremely rewarding, but they are far more likely to return for future events if they are allowed time to talk to others over a cup of tea or a meal. 

Key facts

  • Volunteers are vital in community groups such as Landcare.
  • Volunteers need to be valued and rewarded for their time for them to keep coming back.
  • Landcare events are memorable and repeatable when good information is combined with food and/or social activity.

Project Partners