Beyond social connection and a deeper connection to their local community, the Fairfield community nursery teaches volunteers other important skills.
Reiner has spent eight years working as the community nursery coordinator for Fairfield Council. In that time volunteers have established a seed bank, propagated 500,000 native plants (many of which are endangered) built four hothouses, and most recently built a new community nursery veggie garden made with recycled and reclaimed materials – including raised garden beds, composting bays, worm farms and fruit trees.
The success of the nursery is a testament to how much volunteers can achieve with good support and leadership.
Sophia volunteered at Fairfield Community Nursery for a year before she moved away from Sydney. She wished she had discovered the nursery earlier, and makes it a priority to visit when she’s in town. She believes volunteering at the nursery benefits everyone regardless of their age or background.
“I learned many different nursery activities like seed collecting, seed sowing, propagation activities, caring for the beautiful natives, potting up, weeding as well as categorising plants in different trays, and also learning and growing/caring/preparing a vegetable community garden. I have also gained and made many beautiful lifelong friends.”
Connection is an important part of volunteering. Mandy has a toddler and a newborn baby but feels that volunteering with the gardens is important for her life balance.
“I feel like volunteering is a version of me time that I get to spend with like-minded people. I am also motivated to get to know my community better!”
Beyond social connection and a deeper connection to their local community, the nursery teaches volunteers other important skills.
Reiner explains, “An environmental project like Fairfield Community Nursery makes people feel that they ARE part of the solution and not the problem. Our volunteers like to achieve something worthwhile and feel proud of what they do… just as they want to feel appreciated and valued.”
Sophia reflects on the benefits she gained volunteering with the Fairfield Community Nursery.
“Being able to help and grow natives for donations, schools, councils and bush regenerations fills my heart with happiness and good feelings knowing that I’m helping the plants, the community and the beautiful natural environment of Australia.”