TurtleCare volunteers make a world of difference

Article image - TurtleCare volunteers make a world of difference Volunteers like Carolyn Ufer work tirelessly to save the critically endangered Loggerhead Turtle, ensuring as many hatchlings survive to increase their breeding population.

Sunshine Coast, Queensland, has more than 1500 local volunteers who have so far this year donated over 15,000 hours of their valuable time and skills towards Council’s volunteering program.

This includes volunteering at festivals and events, in libraries and with nature conservation, environment education, parks and gardens, the Caloundra Regional Gallery, Bankfoot House and the TurtleCare program.

For long-serving TurtleCare volunteer Carolyn Ufer, helping endangered Loggerhead Turtles during their annual nesting activities on Sunshine Coast’s beaches has been a life-changing pursuit.

“I first started volunteering with TurtleCare in 2005 when I moved to the Sunshine Coast from Western Australia.

“I was astounded to learn that turtles laid eggs on our beaches and immediately wanted to volunteer for conservation of these ancient creatures. I wanted to give back to the environment.

“Along with helping these wonderful animals, the friendships I’ve formed with other people in TurtleCare who share this common goal has been amazing and has really helped me connect to my community outside of work.

“Walking the beaches during turtle nesting season has also connected me to the nuances and big changes on our beaches which I may not have been attuned to if I hadn’t been involved in volunteering to help our turtles.”

Council’s TurtleCare Volunteer Program carries out marine turtle monitoring for nesting activity from Golden Beach to Point Cartwright. Volunteers’ duties include identifying and recording species, nesting locations, frequency and success rates of nesting activities.

Community Portfolio Councillor, Jenny McKay, said, “This year alone local volunteers have poured 15,436 hours of their time, their skill and their passion into helping make the Sunshine Coast a better place.

“Like Carolyn, they’re helping endangered turtles and other flora and fauna, they’ve assisted in our local libraries and galleries and even helped others to read and write through our Adult Literacy assistance programs.   

“It’s well documented that volunteering has a substantial social benefit for both individual volunteers and those on the receiving end of volunteer efforts.”