Last year one of our fabulous people was nominated for a Pest Free Kaipatiki volunteer award. He was nominated for this award due to his commitment including going beyond the “call of duty” when he got up at 5am on a cold winter's day to deliver flyers as that was the only spare time he had available. I interviewed Glen about what motivates him to take action for the environment. Click here to read the interview and get inspired.
One of the joys of being involved with Pest Free Kaipatiki is working alongside fabulous volunteers and getting to know what has motivated them to take action for the environment. Glen shares his commitment to the environment and the power of social connections with his community in this interview.
Q. How did you get involved in volunteering for PFK?
A. When I was a young man I purchased a bush property that has on it a green zone boarding a local reserve. I have been in this home for about twenty years. I have always been interested in the environment and before I brought my home I studied an Environmental Diploma through Massey University but did not take my studies further as I was starting to build my music business. Over the years I became frustrated when neighbours cut into their green zone, knocking out trees and putting the environment at risk, and as a result causing problems for my land and it’s diversity. Also I was aware of a major rat problem in the reserve which was wreaking havoc in our roof space. It seems strange now, but as a young person I had no idea how to deal with either situation. Despite my best efforts to talk to the council, in the early days, no one seemed prepared to help me. Eventually, as I got older and wiser, and when our local reserve, kauri and my own land continued to come under threat, I found a way to talk to the right people in council. It took a bit of luck but once I got onto the right people, they helped me establish a working management plan for my area of the reserve and teamed me up with Pest Free Kaipatiki and other volunteers.
Q.How long have you been involved?
A. Just over two years ago my primary age son and I participated in the PFK Kauri Dieback training. I have been volunteering since then.
Q. What type of things have you been involved in as a volunteer?
A. I have been running a line of bait stations along our property and in the reserve with a Council Management Plan as well as trapping for possums. I help out on some weekends with other interested parties pulling out weeds and doing restoration work in our area. On occasion I have helped out at the PFK tool shed getting resources ready for the various working halos in the area. I have also helped distribute pamphlets to promote our local halo. And I have been proactive when time has allowed, knocking on doors in our neighbourhood, meeting residents and inviting them to host traps or bait stations on their property.
Q. What do you enjoy about it?
A. I have enjoyed meeting other local people. It is very easy to live in a street and not know anyone. But the spin off of doing something positive for your area and the environment, is that you get to meet and interact with other people and property owners. So there are friendships to be made but it also becomes a powerful tool when you need to get something done or achieved. As a result of PFK training and working with others I’ve gained a much better knowledge of the effects that predators and pest plants have on the environment and its biodiversity. Some of this I was quite ignorant about before and didn’t really know the difference between some pest plants and natives. I actually thought I had a pretty good handle on that, but not so! This knowledge has helped make my own living environment a much healthier and pest free area to live.
Q. What would you say to anyone considering being a street champion?
A. Yep, go for it! You will learn more about your local area and you’ll find and get to interact with other local people. This will make your area healthier, friendlier and safer. Plus it feels good to be doing something positive and for the greater good.
Q. Any low points?
A. Winter and the rain! COVID-19! Time and sometimes keeping the motivation going. And sometimes not quite getting everyone on the same page at the same time.
Q. Any other comments that you would like to share?
A. I’m really thankful for the Auckland Council Park Rangers and PFK, and I’m thankful for all the volunteers and people out there that are passionate about their local areas and the environment. I’m also thankful for the bird life which has become more alive and amazing since we started our predictor control and halo. I’m really grateful that there are people that will listen and help and give freely of their knowledge. I feel I have grown as a person since I got organised and joined PFK as a volunteer!