Voices of the volunteers: an exploration of the experiences of catchment volunteers in coastal Queensland, Australia

Gooch, Margaret (2005) Voices of the volunteers: an exploration of the experiences of catchment volunteers in coastal Queensland, Australia. Local Environment, 10 (1). pp. 5-19.

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This paper discusses findings of a study of catchment care volunteers drawn from the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Catchment volunteering includes individuals in not-for profit stewardship groups with a catchment focus. Catchment volunteering was experienced by participants as maintaining a balance of perspectives; developing/maintaining an identity; networking; learning; empowering; and sustainable. An illustrative model (the Outcome Space), representing a set of scales, shows the relationship between conceptions.

Results indicate that catchment volunteering offers many benefits to individuals and local communities. Although there were frustrations at times, many volunteers expressed deep levels of satisfaction about their volunteering experiences. Results suggest that satisfied volunteers are those that manage to balance volunteering with other aspects of their lives; identify strongly with some aspect of volunteering; enjoy learning from their volunteer experiences; and were willing and able to share and apply their new knowledge in a variety of ways. They also made friends with other volunteers; felt valued by others in the group, and believed that what they do is important. For these respondents, volunteering contributes richly to the fabric of their lives, providing meaning and satisfaction in routine activities, enhancing local communities and building sustainability.

Item ID: 429
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-6711
Keywords: volunteering, stewardship groups, phenomenography, community participation
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© Taylor & Francis 2005. This journal is available online (use hypertext link above)

Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2006
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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