Chance to be ranger for a day

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DOC Ranger Kristina Thompson leads a volunteer track maintenance day. SUPPLIED
DOC Ranger Kristina Thompson leads a volunteer track maintenance day. SUPPLIED

A new project developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) is being launched to provide the community with an opportunity to experience work as a ranger.

The Volunteer Wednesday project schedules work days to give participants a broad range of different experiences from litter collections and track maintenance to pest control and even listening to recordings to identify kiwi calls.

The project kicks off in the Mokaihaha Ecological area where volunteers will help maintain walking tracks for recreational use. DOC has specific track standards to meet to keep the public safe and to enhance visitor enjoyment, and regular maintenance is required to meet these standards.

"We're often approached by people wanting to be volunteer rangers. This project co-ordinates conservation work events together to create an array of different activities that a ranger could be involved in," said DOC ranger Caraline Abbott.

"Volunteers can register and turn up on the 4th Wednesday of each month and know that there will be an activity they can participate in. It could be planting trees; it could be weed control - we've got a variety of tasks planned!"

Community groups which carry out conservation work are invited to incorporate parts of their annual plans into the programme so volunteers can get a feel for what it's like to be part of a community conservation group.

"Rotorua's community groups are phenomenal. It's amazing how well these groups function and the conservation work they get done. Without their support, Rotorua's wildlife and recreational assets would look very different," said Mrs Abbott.

In 2015, conservation volunteers helped plant more than 7500 native trees, monitored wildlife; managed campsites, maintained tracks and pest control networks and helped with our annual orchid count.

"Volunteering is a great way to support your local community, get out of the house and meet new people. Volunteer Wednesdays are an opportunity to support conservation in the Rotorua District and enables people to learn new skills and gain work experience," Mrs Abbott said.

"Health and safety is important to us and we need to make sure our volunteers are fit and well to be suitable for the activity. We're asking potential volunteers to register their details so we can match them to activities suited to their fitness level."

Work events are open to all volunteers but may have a limit on the number of participants or require a suitable level of fitness and skill. For further details and to receive a registration pack, email cabbott@doc.govt.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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