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Conservation Volunteers

About

Conservation Volunteers offers unique conservation projects throughout Australia and New Zealand. Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds. Students, professionals, retirees, and anyone with an interest in conservation and the outdoors is welcome. Visit the Conservation Volunteers website to learn more about how you can volunteer abroad in Australia and New Zealand.

Website
Founded
1982
Headquarters

728 Barkly St
Ballarat VIC 3350
Australia

Reviews

Mckaley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

On this conservation project we did so many thing to rehabilitate and grow the degree of conservation in different parts of Australia. This was the greatest and most rewarding trip I had ever been on, and I have been to may countries before. Just knowing that I was, as cliché as it sounds, saving the planet was the greatest feeling. You can feel so small sometimes and think that something you do may not affect anyone around the world, but when you are standing on the edge of a cliff, or at the shore of a beach that you just spent all day cleaning and you look out into the world, you feel so powerful and there is no greater feeling than that.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a wider variety of conservation projects. There is already a variety as we did different things throughout the week, but an additional project bank might have been good!
Wombatter
8/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Our project was okay, very long and tiring days, but we did get to see some cute animals. Our project leaders were not fully prepared to do the task at hand, I.e. Needed help in operating their own equipment, but we managed. Their hearts are in the right place.

Kyra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with Conservation Volunteers was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone who has a love and respect for nature. Being able to contribute to the conservation efforts of New Zealand left me with a new found respect for conservationist.
One week we would be working with Kiwis, the next planting indigenous plants in restored swamps, then collecting seedling the week after that.

What would you improve about this program?
Better Communication
Jordan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was a trip of a lifetime! I made lifelong friends with people from around the world who also valued my love of volunteering and travel. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the staff at Walkabout Wildlife Park. They were always right there working with us to make their park a better place. Our group focused on constructing walking trails and planting trees during our time at the park. We accomplished a lot during our two weeks, but I think that we would have been more productive if the labor of maintaining the park was cut into half days rather than being all day work. For example, working the mornings and then getting to interact with the wildlife or educating the public about the importance of conservation in the afternoons. The second half of the trip we toured the Eastern coast. My group got to meet the local and native people, interact with the wildlife, learn about the history of the country, as well as get to participate in activities such as scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, skydiving, white water rafting, repelling the Blue Mountains, surfing, ocean kayaking, and whale watching. This half of the trip was amazing and like nothing I had every experienced before. The free time that we got at each destination was important. It allowed us to do things individually that was not on the itinerary. On top of being a spectacular trip, it was wonderful that ISV took care of all the logistics of traveling so that I could just enjoy the ride. This was a no stress, thoroughly enjoyable, once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget!

What would you improve about this program?
One area that could be improved would be providing the travelers with a basic information package of what they need to know before traveling to their destination. The package could just include a very basic need to know checklist for traveling to said country. Things like to check your phone provider for international service, purchasing a phone card, packing enough local currency to get a cab or hotel room in the case of an emergency, translation dictionary, etc.. I received prior to my trip a packing list for the nature preserve which was wonderful, however, it would have been nice to have also receive a checklist just for international travel to my specific destination.
Timmy
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We did a lot of nice works to help to keep th wild like cleaning creeks, grasses and tree planting... We can meet a lot of nice people from all over the world and have new friends ! That's awesome ! A very good program.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Conservation Volunteers in Australia?

Dimitri: I decided to go with Conservation Volunteers because for my first time traveling I wanted to go to Australia and I'm really interested in helping the wildlife! When I read the description from CV, I was just so happy because I found exactly what I wanted to do! The fact that I traveled to the East Coast is more interesting because I can see a lot of different places (Possum Valley, Rainforest in Cairns; Roma and the wildlife in Brisbane and I will discover Sydney) and it's so nice to see that!

Volunteers in Australia

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Dimitri: When you are a volunteer you don't have always good days because you could don't like the job... However, this one was great, the most of the time, so good and you can see a LOT of thing that you couldn't see anywhere else!

So as a volunteer you can:

  • Clean creeks to help the river's wildlife to grow
  • Plant trees to stop the erosion or just to help the forest grow
  • Work in a nursery to see trees growing up and them to grow up

And you will not work to much during the day because the team leaders prefer to show you some wild or animals or creeks, etc...

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Dimitri: This experience will have a really good impact on my future because now I speak English better than before (since I'm from France) and I will have good experience with outdoor work and living with a team! That's so amazing! And you can also meet a lot of people from a lot of different countries and with different cultures!

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Conservation Volunteers staff member Madeline

Tell us a little about Conservation Volunteers and your role at the company.

Madeline: Conservation Volunteers Australia was founded in 1982 to connect people with the environment. In 2006, we expanded operations to start Conservation Volunteers New Zealand.

As an organisation, we’re all about practical results: educating the community and involving them in practical projects which really make a difference to the environment. We get our hands dirty and get things done! My role within the organisation involves working to gain more volunteers and supporters for what we do.

How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?

Madeline: How else – I volunteered! I was a backpacker from England when I found Conservation Volunteers Australia – I volunteered and I was hooked. I was lucky enough to get a job, and to be a part of the organisation’s growth and development.

It’s not always easy working for a not-for-profit organisation and there are plenty of challenges, but we have a great record of achievement in conservation, and many people – like me – who have made caring for the environment their life’s work after their experiences with Conservation Volunteers.

What makes Conservation Volunteers unique?

Madeline: It’s a combination of things: we’re an organisation that can’t exist without people, so there’s a good starting point for great interaction and exchange. Our volunteers come from around the world and around the corner – it’s a great cultural mix of domestic and international volunteers.

Secondly, we operate for the benefit of the environment – both Australia and New Zealand are countries of outstanding natural beauty, with fantastic wildlife, landscapes and habitats. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be able to protect and restore the environment here.

Third, we’re a not-for-profit organisation – it’s all about people and supporters giving their time and effort (and donations of course!) to achieve results for the environment that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Group of Conservation Volunteers

In your experience, what characteristics make a good international volunteer? How does Conservation Volunteers choose volunteers?

Madeline: A good international volunteer is the same as a good local volunteer – anyone who is prepared to put their hand up and give their time is welcome! It doesn’t matter if you can only contribute a short time – your efforts will be combined with those of our thousands of other volunteers, and you’ll be playing your part in helping care for the environment.

In terms of how we choose volunteers, the answer is that we don’t go through a lengthy selection process. We do have some base level criteria - you need to be aged at least 18 to join a residential project for instance, and you need to be fit and healthy because it’s an active outdoor program – but if you’re prepared to volunteer, we’ll try to find a way to get you onto our programs.

How do you ensure your programs are sustainable and mutually beneficial for you, the community, and the volunteers?

Madeline: Every one of the projects we operate is part of a larger conservation management plan – this ensures that it is environmentally sustainable. We raise funds for our programs from a variety of sources (individual donors, business partners, grants etc), to make our programs as financially self-sustaining as possible.

For the community and volunteers, we include education as part of every program – our Team Leaders explain the conservation reasons for each project that we do to make sure the volunteers understand and enjoy the programs they help to deliver.

Professional Associations

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