2. Community leadership and sustainability

2.2 ACT’s environmental volunteers and citizen scientists

Canberra’s community

It is important for Canberrans to show community commitment and leadership to protect the ACT’s environment, and also to collaborate closely with NSW to manage environmental issues across the region. The ACT is fortunate to have the highest rate of volunteering in the country, and in particular over 56% of 12 to 25 year olds volunteer in some way. Many of these volunteers contribute to our understanding and management of the environment.

An Australian National University birdscaping volunteer. Photo: Edwina Robinson

Citizen scientists

Community involvement in science is important because understanding our environment often requires lots of data. Community members can collect much larger quantities of data than scientists or government staff are able to collect by themselves. Locals often know a lot about their area because they see changes that happen every day. Environmental managers can use these increased observations and specialised local knowledge to help make the best decisions.

The internet has enabled an expansion of citizen science. We now have quick and easy access to log data, for example, on species in our local areas. Mobile phones are the perfect tool for citizen scientists as they have GPS location information, cameras and access to apps to help with data collection and species identification.

Community natural resource management

Natural resource management involves managing nature reserves, national parks, urban parks and public open spaces. It is the responsibility of the government, assisted by citizen scientists and volunteer groups. The two main volunteer programs which manage natural resources in the ACT are:


  • ParkCare Patch (weed removal, planting trees, and looking after the ‘patch’ of land in your local area)
  • VisitorAssist (working with visitors to your area, helping them to interpret environmental information; and volunteering at a visitor information centre)
  • RangerAssist (helping rangers with local programs)
  • WildlifeAssist (helping the Tidbinbilla Wildlife team to care for, protect and conserve native animals).

More information on ParkCare can be found HERE

Urban Parks and Places Volunteering

  • involves community members contributing to the conservation, preservation and maintenance of public spaces in urban areas such as parks, playgrounds, grasslands, shopping centres, and wetland and lake surrounds.

More information on Urban Parks and Places Volunteering can be found HERE

Other volunteer programs include Landcare and Greening Australia.

Natural resource management is also important for private lands, such as farms. Volunteer community members can help with activities such as revegetation, weeding, pest control and fencing.

Our actions can have more impact when done with other people. As a community we can achieve so much. Look at some of the conservation activities that the ACT community has already achieved: