In celebration of International Volunteers Day, the City of Cape Town and SANParks Table Mountain National Park took the opportunity to recognise their enthusiastic volunteers. This year marked the City’s first Volunteers Appreciation Event which took place on Thursday, 5 December at the Zandvlei Lookout in the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve.
Volunteers from the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Biodiversity Management department and SANParks were awarded with certificates and small gifts of appreciation to recognise their efforts and dedication during 2019. These volunteers offer assistance at the City’s nature reserves across Cape Town. These volunteers gain exposure to areas and activities such as environmental education; alien-vegetation clearing; general maintenance at nature reserves; plant-nursery work; floral and faunal surveys; guided hikes; office administration as well as litter clean-ups.
‘Our volunteers range from school learners to retired residents. We get assistance from both local and international volunteers. Some are school learners completing their work experience and others are simply residents looking for any opportunity to enjoy and take care of the natural environment within their area’, says Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager, City of Cape Town. It shows great enthusiasm and dedication from our volunteers to willingly volunteer their time to assist in our mission to conserve the city’s biodiversity, and for this we are truly grateful. There are several routes people follow to find happiness and satisfaction but often the deepest satisfaction comes from the intangibles, doing good work simply because of passion or support, volunteerism is one of those intangibles where the rewards can be deep and lasting.”
‘We rarely ever take time to appreciate the great work that volunteers do around our conservation areas, so it really was a great experience for me to witness and appreciate the tremendous and self-less work that our volunteers do and to see how much taking part in the program has changed their lives for the better. It gives me hope that our efforts are not in vain but are for the benefit of the community in terms of the youth in our surrounding communities who need to take ownership of our natural resources and conserve it not only for their sake but for future generations.’ Munzhedzi Muhanelwa, People & Conservation Officer for SANParks Table Mountain National Park
Previous volunteers from both SANParks Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Management department shared their inspiring stories at the event. Their career paths are perfect examples of how opportunities can arise when one follows your passion and invests time and work into gaining the necessary experience.
For more information on the City’s nature reserves please click on the following link: www.capetown.gov.za/naturereserves.