Volunteering Innovation Fund round two recipients

Twelve innovative volunteer projects have been awarded more than $440,000 to increase the diversity and number of people volunteering in our parks.

Read about the successful projects from Round Two, selected by public voting!

Conservation and science

Split image featuring a possum on a branch at night time on the left and a Swift Parrot clinging to a leafy branch in daylight on the right.

Climate-proofing a Swift Parrot Hotspot

Biolinks Alliance - $50,000.00

To restore the connectivity, condition and resilience of landscapes.

Biolinks Alliance is a community-based organisation with the mission to support, coordinate and amplify community efforts to repair regional ecosystems at a landscape scale. It brings together landholders, Landcare and community groups to learn, share experience, gain new skills and deliver projects.

The project demonstrates how to ‘re-set’ damaged forest, so that it can recover and withstand climate change. Documenting ecological outcomes over a 10 year period is key to the project and involves establishing a volunteer citizen science program, measuring indicators such as arboreal mammals and woodland birds. Funding will be used for monitoring technology such as cameras, nest boxes, mapping tools and training.

The project demonstrates the efficacy of practical and cost-effective ways to restore landscape function and productivity, while also building community conservation capacity to adapt and up-scale the approaches in other ecosystems.

Healthy Parks Healthy People


Collage of images of people working and gathered outdoors.

Horseshoe Bend Community Garden

Horseshoe Bend Community Garden Group - $50,000.00

Growth through connection of knowledge, community and environment.

We are a collective of curious, creative, connected, lived, and inspiring minds brought together through a shared vision to create a space of ever learning positive support and a willingness to develop partnerships with like-minded groups and organisations.

Our project will see volunteers establish, restore and maintain food, native and sensory gardens and a fruit orchard at Horseshoe Bend Reserve. Volunteers will be invited to participate in the project and join an array of free workshops covering:

  • orchard, market and sensory garden design and maintenance
  • mental health
  • food preserving
  • visitor and volunteer administration

As members join, new ideas will be shared, connections with community and environment will be founded, Horseshoe Bend Reserve heritage celebrated and our passion for learning will continue.


Community members and rangers gathered and working in a garden.

Werribee Park Farm Community Hub

Werribee Park Farm Community Hub - $50,000.00

A place for community to grow, eat, share and connect.

The Hub is a space to connect. Local culturally and linguistically diverse community members experiencing isolation issues connect with young adults with disabilities upskilling in horticulture and members of local mainstream community. It’s a space to grow and share skills through hands-on activities, food and gardening.

The Hub currently attracts over 120 volunteers a week who range in age, ability, and cultural backgrounds. Community members meet for social, recreational and educational activities. This project will grow volunteer numbers by providing capacity building opportunities regarding food security and creating a nursery based social enterprise.

The social enterprise will provide long term financial support to continue the project and offer pathways to employment programs through educational and employment experience.


Two women wearing dark glasses reaching out and touching leaves on a tree with their hands.

Sensing nature - a vision for inclusion

Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria - $35,870.00

Victorians with vision loss lead physically active, socially connected lives.

Our organisation enhances the lives of people throughout Victoria who are blind/vision impaired through sport and recreation. Since our establishment we have evolved into a small but thriving charity, encouraging people with vision loss of all ages and backgrounds to lead more healthy, active and social lifestyles.

Our project will engage blind and vision impaired people and sighted volunteers in a series of group forest immersion walks. People with vision loss will volunteer to co-design and lead walks, sharing insights on using other senses. Forest therapy will include mindfulness, exploration of senses and nature.

People with vision loss will gain leadership skills and confidence and people who are sighted will gain insights into the world of people with vision loss. Overall, the project will improve participants physical and mental well-being and reduce social isolation.

Supporting Nature’s Future


A river flowing between bush and farm land.

Kennett River - giving back to our river so it can give back to us

Southern Otway Landcare Network - $37,733.00

To create an engaged community where the love of our environment is second nature.

We are a grassroots community organisation dedicated to protecting and restoring the Southern Otway environment so we can live, work and find joy in a healthy, productive and balanced environment.

We want to reconnect the hills to the sea by restoring the Kennett River. This is a community plan to tackle environmental weeds, replant lost indigenous vegetation, create an enjoyable and educational space, engage the local and tourist populations and participate in the Tree Fern citizen science study, researching the impact of tree ferns as a biological control against blackberry. By working with the Eastern Maar we will deliver a project that not only meets but excites their expectations.

By restoring the mouth of the Kennett River and recreating a damaged ecosystem we will leave a legacy of thoughtful, caring ecology. The community will unite to create and deliver this project and take ownership and pride of Kennett River.


Close up of an owl in a tree in daylight.

Hollows for Habitat at Westgate Park

Westgate Biodiversity: Bili Nursery and Landcare- $14,208.00

Inspiring our community to value and regenerate local biodiversity.

We are a community organisation whose mission is to regenerate the biodiversity of Greater Melbourne by supplying and planting indigenous vegetation. Our dedicated team of volunteers are transforming

Westgate Park into beautiful bushland for people to enjoy, and for plants and animals to flourish. We propagate locally indigenous plants and engage community through citizen science.

We are partnering with Bayside Intrepid Youth and Port Phillip Men’s Shed to provide breeding habitat at Westgate Park for our most important urban wildlife, including owls and bats. Nest boxes provide habitat where there is a lack of old tree hollows. Volunteers will build 50 nest boxes and conduct citizen science through use of an innovative remote monitoring system.

Hollows for Habitats aims to create a haven for native animals in the wake of an ever-expanding city. It will provide a model for empowering more young people to become conservation leaders, as they share their progress with the public and engage community in the value of restoring urban biodiversity.


A top-down view of a person holding a tray of seedlings.

The Iramoo Potters - Reconnecting Community and Restoring Wildflowers

Cairnlea Conservation Reserves Committee of Management - $45,337.00

Restoring Wonderful Wildflower Grasslands in Melbourne West.

We work with the community to replace high threat weeds with native wildflowers and grasses in 3 urban grasslands in Melbourne’s West.  Our beautiful grasslands provide habitat for endangered plants and animals including the Striped Legless Lizards, Tussock Skink, Spiny Rice-flowers and Button Wrinkleworts.

Our project will allow people of all ages and abilities to join our wildflower propagation team... from home!

It's out with the weeds and in with the wildflowers. We will deliver everything needed to grow native wildflowers direct to doorsteps. These plants will then be collected so student cadets can care for them in our

Native Plant Nursery until they are ready to be planted in the wild.

Community can propagate plants from home, volunteer in the nursery or plant into grasslands and be part of restoring habitat to save locally endangered species and protect our critically endangered grassland ecosystems.

Sharing Nature’s Stories


Two children and a man planting trees using shovels.

"I love this place and would love to volunteer my time to it"

Friends of Newlands Reserve - $20,000.00

Our committees of management aim to engage local communities and visitors in our unique local environment.

We are partnering with Edenhope Flora and Fauna reserve committee of Management and are two dedicated, small groups of local residents, who have established walking tracks, signage, and maintain our respective local reserves. Our passion is to boost tourism and education through promoting and establishing quality interactive walking trails.

The proposed project involves:

  • Local schools developing interactive QR code signage linking to a website
  • Mosaic stepping stones, made by local art groups, for a ‘spot the animal’ activity on walking trails
  • Training workshops on monitoring flora/fauna and pest plant/animals
  • Wildlife camera installation and short promotional videos developed for websites and social media.

Our groups wish to preserve our reserves for future generations through engaging new volunteers and building stronger partnerships. These reserves are both located within townships yet are home to the endangered South Eastern Red-tail Black cockatoo and a unique range of threatened and endangered native orchids. Quality interactive trails will engage visitors in the significance of these environments and their future protection.


A person standing in front of an alpine hut with 3D modelling camera equipment.

3D digital scanning of Victoria’s iconic High Country huts

Victorian High Country Huts Association - $23,000.00

We conserve, maintain and rebuild huts in the Victorian High Country.

We are a group of volunteers around Victoria who care and advocate for the huts.  We work closely with government to maintain, rebuild and capture the history of these buildings.

Our project will digitally capture up to 20 of the iconic heritage listed huts of the Australian Alps of Victoria. We will use 3D modelling camera equipment and software to create 3D computer models of the huts, compatible with virtual reality goggles. The 3D models will be archived and published online so everyone can take virtual 3D tours and walk throughs with interpretive material attached (e.g. drone footage, videos, historic information).

The 3D models are a vital tool for conservation planning (i.e. creation of a permanent record, updated conditions assessments, scoping works, bushfire protection planning, costing and project planning) and allows virtual access for wider audiences, including those previously unable to experience.

Managing Country Together


Members of The Friends of Terrick Terrick National Park.

Capturing the Terrick Terrick National Park

The Friends of the Terrick Terrick National Park - $23,500.00

To promote, preserve and protect the Terrick Terrick National Park.

A not-for-profit group of dedicated members who are passionate about our special National Park. Our mission is to encourage community ownership and involvement in this national treasure. We assist Park Victoria in the promotion of the park through community engagement, with events including weekend activities, school group tours and information nights.

The project will capture the environmental and cultural history of the Terrick Terrick National Park using murals and information boards. One mural designed by a traditional elder and involve local indigenous children in the painting. The project will promote and unlock secrets of flora and fauna of this special place. Volunteers will assist with installation and advertisement of the project.

Continued involvement with schools and the indigenous community. With the murals and information boards a greater appreciation and understanding of Critically Endangered Plains Grassland and threatened flora and fauna will occur. Informing the community about the cultural history and biodiversity of the park will preserve it for generations to come.

A tree growing among rocks with a river in the background.

Guardians of Galada Tamboore

Merri Creek Management Committee - $44,571.00

Preserving and restoring the biodiversity of the Merri Creek valley.

We are a not-for-profit environmental group working closely with local community and agencies to ensure preservation and ecologically sensitive restoration of the Merri Creek valley’s natural and cultural heritage.

Merri Creek Park, also known as Galada Tamboore, is a place of great cultural significance to Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people, provides refuge to atleast 8 threatened species of flora and fauna and supports critically endangered grassland communities. Our project will see volunteers run a series of workshops and working bees including:

  • Smoking ceremony
  • Cultural walks
  • Training days
  • Citizen science

The project will work hand-in-hand with our Ecological Restoration Team and Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Narrap Rangers to control weeds, prepare land for threatened species reintroduction and improve habitat.

Our volunteers will also gain a deeper appreciation of Galada Tamboore’s cultural and ecological heritage.

Close up of a seated person wearing native animal fur and holding a carved wooden tool in their hands.

Connecting to Country

Connecting to Country Program - $50,000.00

Sharing knowledge for future generations.

We are members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) and non-Indigenous communities working together for a shared goal to care for Country. We will reconnect young people with community, land and waterways and work to heal Country by embedding culture into skill development for traditional land and environmental management.

Our project will bring together local ATSI elders and young people on the Kulin Lands of the Dandenong Creek and Police Paddocks to connect and partake in our ‘Connecting to Country’ program, offering volunteer participants:

  • Work experience
  • Tertiary training
  • Qualifications
  • Cultural access
  • Cultural practice

Participants will be helped to pursue further conservation and land management studies, ultimately leading to paid employment. This project will combine the aspirations of First Peoples with modern concepts of volunteering. Together we are breaking down barriers and building a culturally safe environment for young people.

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