40 years of service to nature
“Going into Harbury is like going into a cathedral, it’s beautiful. Looking up at the trees, hearing the lyrebirds and the seeing a pair of sleepy powerful owls roosting on a branch.”
Elizabeth Fraser has been volunteering at Harbury Reserve in Pakenham Upper, for an impressive 40 years.
It’s one of 44 Trust for Nature reserves across Victoria and is one of 12 reserves maintained through the generosity, hard work and invaluable local knowledge of volunteer Committees of Management and friends groups.
Elizabeth said, “I see us as the guardians of the property and one day it will be passed on to other guardians. As a nurse I’d been looking after people for many years and when I retired I decided I wanted to volunteer for the environment.”
She is also heavily involved in other conservation groups in her area.
Trust for Nature CEO Victoria Marles said the committees are critical to the management of Trust for Nature’s 36,000 hectares of valuable habitat protected in its reserves.
She said, “As any landholder will tell you keeping on top of pest animals and weeds is a big job and we couldn’t maintain our reserves without the committees who regularly help with the ongoing land management. Between them, the committees have nearly 100 volunteers.
“Their knowledge about the local landscape is a huge asset and their links to local communities is fantastic—they welcome visitors to reserves whenever possible.”
Between them, members of the committees of management and friends groups have put in more than 300 years’ worth of voluntary labour.
Harbury Reserve is an amalgamation of five properties that were bought by Elizabeth’s aunt in the Pakenham Upper region and donated to Trust for Nature so it can be protected forever.
Elizabeth said volunteering at the reserve is satisfying due to the people she meets and the general wellbeing it brings: “Volunteering is about friendships, physical and mental stimulation, fresh air and exercise.
“I just love that everyone else is volunteering too and doing it because it’s a passion and not because they have to,” she said.
The committees will be recognised by Trust for Nature this Saturday at a special presentation ahead of National Volunteering Week (May 21 – 17), for their dedication and time to protecting Trust for Nature reserves across Victoria. Media is welcome to attend.
Presentation: Saturday 19 May, 12.45 – 1.30pm
Melbourne Zoo boardroom, Elliott Ave, Parkville.
Communications and Media Manager
Trust for Nature
0466 015 183
Main photo: Elizabeth Fraser with her husband Ian Fraser, who has also donated many voluntary hours to Hardbury Reserve.