Volunteer Opportunities

Around 500 volunteers from far and wide have registered with the Springbrook Rescue Project. For many, the hands on work helping the Parks and Wildlife Service build new national park and World Heritage areas can be a transformative and inspiring experience. We are extremely grateful and humbled by the many people who have already committed their passion, skills and time to the project.

Volunteer accommodation is essential in a remote-area project such as Springbrook Rescue. Further details are available on the associated page.

Our primary focus, wherever possible, has been allowing natural regeneration of World Heritage values in the wet core of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage site. We believe we should only actively help nature recover if there is good evidence to justify intervening. Where we can demonstrate the need, we can only achieve our primary goals with the generous involvement of the community. In a remote location such as Springbrook we are dependent on a much larger pool of volunteers than the local community can provide.

The tasks that are necessary are wide-ranging, common to most science-based restoration projects, and include:
•   weed removal where their presence precludes natural regeneration or threatens nearby intact forests
•   seed collecting when either the immediate species pool or dispersal agents are missing
•   participating in science projects that underpin our restoration activities (biodiversity surveys, measuring the recovery of wildlife communities and their habitat requirements or condition, downloading data loggers, database entry etc)
•   property maintenance and repairs so that overnight volunteers can be comfortable during their stay

Volunteer coordinator
Rhea Phelan was our volunteer coordinator from September 2012 to November 2013. The position is now held by Denise Elias. The menu at the top of this page links to a separate page that allows individuals to register their interest for special projects requiring particular skills and need to be conducted in a specific timeframe.

Volunteer activities are focused on the critical threat of Aristea,.

Weed removal
Given the scale and long-term nature of the project we have found it best, at this stage, to draw mostly on existing self-organising groups already attuned to nature and each other. An ideal group size, especially for help on the greatest challenge of controlling the enormously threatening weed Aristea ecklonii, is 10–15 people. For some tasks, smaller-sized groups are apt. We welcome volunteers from anywhere in the world, whether it be from the local community or overseas.

Unless necessary for a particular task, or when volunteers are willing and enthusiastic to do more, four hours is normally the maximum amount of time a group spends working in the field in any one day — in periods of two hours broken by morning or afternoon tea, or lunch. [For science related work on growth plots, 6–8 hours a day has been found to be necessary to complete each seasonal measure in a reasonable time.]

Clipping seed heads or digging out Aristea ecklonii
Pulling out Fireweed
Applying herbicide to Aristea ecklonii with great care either
using a back pack or with a rope wick or sponge wipers
Brushcutting either tracks to nodes in the Wireless Sensor Network
on Pallida, or between natural regeneration that slashers
or mowers cannot access
Eradicating Kahili Ginger
Eradicating smothering Plectranthus ciliatus
Removing exotic trees with chainsaws
Loading trailers or a utility
Slashing aggressive, necrotosing, mat-forming pasture grasses
such as kikuyu, paspalum, dactylus and setaria
Transporting weeds to a green waste dump
Mowing mat-forming pasture grasses such as setaria

Collecting seeds from local provenances.
Acacias such as A. obtusifolia, and Lomatia arborescens are important colonisers for areas too far from natural sources

Participating in science projects

In addition to the examples below, an indispensible part of Springbrook Rescue involves  data management including data downloads from field monitoring stations and data entry into our various databases
Examples of science-based activities
Work on mounting and labeling of pressed plant specimens
for the reference herbarium
Assisting with mounting insects for the reference insect collection
(specialist skills needed)
Participating in bird surveys to complement the long-term
seasonal surveys by Birds Queensland.
Participating in other biodiversity surveys, e.g. of invertebrates such as
King Crickets, dung beetles, spiders, snails, as well as of fungi,
plants, frogs etc. when advertised on our website
Marking new regeneration

Property and equipment maintenance and repairs

ARCS manages a number of buildings at Springbrook that accommodate volunteers: at 317 Repeater Station Road and 17 Bilbrough Court. They need regular maintenance and repairs, particularly in the high altitude cloud-forest environments prone to mould. These accommodation facilities underpin the effectiveness and sustainability of the Springbrook Rescue project. As this project is essentially based on volunteers, we would appreciate the skills of retired or otherwise volunteer tradespersons to help with plumbing, carpentry, painting, re-tiling, or electrical repairs. Help with routine cleaning would also be appreciated.

We also need help with routine maintenance of equipment such as mowers, brush cutters, chainsaws and chippers.