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Bertrand Salmi – Conservation Volunteers Australia

Video URL
Tue 4 July 2017
Audio description

I think it's a great opportunity if you just first arrived in the country to get to know your city. It's just a fantastic way to see all the different parks, see the different side of Melbourne and Melbourne is fantastic in terms of green space.

I’m from France originally. I’m a water resource engineer so my focus and engineering is in terms of flooding, drainage and wetland designs and it’s just a really a good opportunity for me to see how wetlands are designed here by the engineers and it's a good mix of engineering and conservation work together. It's what I want to do with my career. It's a good way to learn.

They take you from the middle of Melbourne and they take you to places that are quite sometimes far away from Melbourne, sometimes are not even open to the public. Once we get to the sites we are briefed most of time to tell us the history of the site and why the site is important.

We do a lot of weeding out and a lot of Australians more and more now are trying to protect their native plants so we have to make sure that they don't get outcompeted by weeds.

We plant, like, sometimes it's seedlings, sometimes its seeds, sometimes It’s trees that are a little bit more advanced.

Depending where we're at, we go for walks and that allows us to just drop the tools and just enjoy the sites for what they are and that usually also allow us to see a little bit more wildlife. There's tawny frogmouth, there's always lots of birds there's a lot of duck species, kangaroos, emus just really gives us a sense of nature. We get to me people are quite knowledgeable in their fields. The rangers are particularly example and they a lot of time are able to transmit the passion that they have into protecting the environment and making sure that their reserves are the best they can be.

It drives you, it drives me, and it's got me this added energy to start learning my plants again.

I've been embracing a lot of people out there who just have the knowledge and they're prepared to help you and to share it with you. And if you want to have more of a social day and have a bit of a chat there’s always someone that’ll be willing to hear it. I guess one of the aims when I started volunteering is that it would help me find a job and it did. I ended up working in a field that I love.

I love doing it as a job but in the absence of that I love doing it in all my free time and it has allowed me to do it without costing me anything, just my time, and that's the time that I'm willing to give.