You can help make a difference while being immersed in our local nature by volunteering for the Department of Conservation.
DoC rangers from Rotorua invite the community to join their monthly volunteer days, with the activities and locations varying from month to month.
The next volunteer day is on Wednesday, June 16, 8.30am to 4.30pm, at the Mokaihaha Rotohokahoka Track. It will involve work maintaining the track and foliage.
Medium fitness and being able to carry tools and equipment for up to 8km, as well as wearing comfortable hiking boots, are required for this volunteer day.
To register contact ranger Catherine Noble at email@example.com.
DoC Rotorua acting operations manager Carrie Abbott says DoC is involved in a wide range of functions including species protection, outreach work and providing recreational facilities.
She says they need to prioritise their resourcing to have rangers working where they are needed most.
"Working with volunteers is a great way for us to connect with the community that we work in, and helps get the work done, particularly the work that we don't have the capacity to get to."
She says throughout the year they run a lot of different types of volunteering events including tree planting, trapping, orchid monitoring and track maintenance.
"There are plenty of opportunities for people to learn a new skill and help support conservation work in the Rotorua area."
She says DoC relies on community participation to help Papatūānuku thrive.
"Every little bit helps – from backyard trapping, to reporting myrtle rust. Volunteers achieve great things in this district and we're lucky to have their support."
She says volunteers can also join community conservation groups such as the Rotoehu Ecological Trust or the Kaharoa Kokako Trust.
"These groups are usually run entirely by volunteers and are a great way to socialise and keep active."
Carrie says volunteer roles aren't just about field work either: "These groups need support for administration, health and safety planning and fundraising.
"Volunteer organisations often have non-traditional roles which might appeal to new volunteers.
"At DoC we've previously received support from ex-teachers who have delivered educational events and a legal executive who supported our legal team with prosecutions.
"We've sent volunteers on mystery shopping trips to make sure businesses are operating responsibly on DoC-administered land, had Gateway students prepare media releases, and even received help from mechanically-minded volunteers who helped maintain our fleet.
"Sometimes it's worth getting in touch with a volunteer organisation to let them know what you are able to offer outside of the roles associated with their mainstream function.
"We're extremely grateful to all our volunteers."
For more information and details of other upcoming monthly volunteer days, go to www.doc.govt.nz - "Get Involved, Volunteer".