Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN)

Supporting bush regeneration in Greater Sydney

Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN)

Supporting bush regeneration in Greater Sydney

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

The people managing volunteer Bushcare and environmental programs play an important role in the regeneration and maintenance of biodiversity in Greater Sydney. Across the region, 33 Bushcare Programs supported by councils or the National Parks and Wildlife Service account for thousands of environmental volunteers and tens of thousands of volunteer hours. The skills and expertise required to manage volunteer programs are many and always evolving.

The solution

Together, volunteer coordinators across Greater Sydney possess a wealth of knowledge and experience. Sharing knowledge, experience and ideas with peers is a great way to keep learning and enhancing skills.

In 1993, a group of local council coordinators from Sydney met to share their experiences managing bushland restoration programs. This was the beginning of the VCN, a network that meets four times a year to discuss current issues, challenges and solutions. Network members volunteer to host the meetings. Greater Sydney Local Land Services facilitates the 'round table' discussions, collaborating with the host to organise guest speakers and site visits.

The impact

The VCN meetings are always well attended and members appreciate coming together with their peers in a trusting and supportive environment. Hot topics at recent meetings have included record management, volunteer induction and supervision in hazardous conditions. Greater Sydney Local Land Services records detailed minutes that provide a handy reference to the discussions and an overview of activities. 

During the COVID-19 restrictions, the network was activated to efficiently share approaches to engaging with their bushcare communities online and providing updates on restarting on-ground volunteer works.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services published the fourth edition of the Volunteers Coordinators Manual in 2015. The manual captures expertise and skills from the VCN and serves as a best practice guide for managing long-term environmental volunteer programs.


The 'round table' format of the meetings provides structure and an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the discussion. The VCN supports collaboration across the region and provides opportunities for mentoring. For instance, people working on newly established Bushcare programs have access to the collective wisdom and experience of those around the table, including those working on the longest running Bushcare programs.

Key facts

  • Skills to manage environmental volunteer programs are many and evolving
  • The VCN formed to support learning amongst environmental volunteer coordinators
  • The VCN meets four times a year and discusses issues, challenges and solutions
  • VCN members have formed trusting and supportive relationships

Project Partners