Fall in love with becoming a Volunteer Track Ranger

Monday 26 February, 2024

After spending time as a Parks Victoria Volunteer Track Ranger, most participants come away having fallen in love with one of the state’s most beautiful parks. Some, however, come away having fallen in love with each other. 

At least that was the case for former Volunteer Track Rangers Emma Ferris and Callum Edwards, who spent their second date enrolled in the program at Mount Buffalo National Park

“That was four years ago, and we’ve been together ever since,” Emma said. 

Volunteer Track Rangers Emma and Callum at Mount Buffalo National Park

Photo: Emma Ferris and Callum Edwards enjoyed their time as Volunteer Track Rangers at Mount Buffalo National Park.

Volunteer Track Rangers can be found out in parks on long weekends and during the busy summer period. They walk and camp along popular tracks during peak holidays providing hikers with a friendly point of contact, up‐to‐date park information, and undertaking tasks like track maintenance and weed identification which helps to improve the park for others. 

“I learned about the Volunteer Track Ranger program through the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club. Callum was also a member, and very early on he asked me if I wanted to pair up for the Volunteer Track Ranger program,” Emma said. 

“I thought it sounded fun. He was taking a bit of a risk asking me, because we didn’t know each other too well at that point, so Mount Buffalo and the Volunteer Track Ranger program sort of became our second date.”  

“I’d only been to Mount Buffalo as a baby, so it it was really nice to go back and actually get to experience the park properly,” Emma said. 

“We met the local ranger who told us what we’d be doing during the program. We then went to Lake Catani and set up our camp, and we got to meet the volunteer campground hosts who were there at the same time looking after the campsite there.” 

“As Volunteer Track Rangers our main responsibilities were to walk the trails and give advice and guidance to visitors about where they wanted to go. At the same time, we were also doing weed identification. We’d been given a booklet of plants and weeds in the area and tried to map them as we walked around."  

“We were also able to visit some of the more remote sections that may not have been walked in a while and just identify any issues, like trees that had come down and things like that.”

The view of Mount Buffalo from The Horn.

Photo: The view from The Horn, the summit of Mount Buffalo, looking across the rocky plateau to the Victorian Alps.

Emma said the pair had no regrets about becoming Volunteer Track Rangers, and said she’d encourage anyone thinking of applying to be open to being placed in a park that may not be their first or second choice. 

“It’s a really great way to get to get to know a place and understand it in a more in-depth way. It’s also nice to share that knowledge of the park with other visitors and help them understand it better as well.” 

Expressions of interest are now open for the next intake of Volunteer Track Rangers. 

The Parks Victoria Volunteer Track Ranger program is a great way to experience nature on a different level. Operating across long weekends and the busy summer period, the program allows volunteers to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen park. Half-day Volunteer Track Ranger opportunities are also available. 

Applicants must be over 18 years old. People who apply with a friend will be paired with each other, while people who apply alone will be paired with another volunteer for the duration of the program. 

Click here for more information on becoming a Volunteer Track Ranger or email volunteer@parks.vic.gov.au


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