Toormina-based engineers get hands dirty with Landcare

Landcare’s Helen Minogue with Vulcanic Tee’s volunteer weeding team: Jiri Suchanek, Kynan Sodeau, Glenn Bennett, Kevin Coleborn, Brett Needham, Ben Bergs and Landcare’s Barry Powells.

A VOLUNTEER weeding team made up of members of a Toormina-based engineering business has recently been of service to Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare (CHRL).

The Coffs Harbour Landcare office received a call from Kevin Coleborn, Operations Manager at Vulcanic TEE, suggesting the company would like to make a contribution to the local community and help improve their environment by carrying out volunteer work on a local Landcare site.

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Boambee Headland was the site chosen to benefit.

CHRL President Barry Powells told News Of The Area, “Six volunteers from different departments of the business arrived to help the local volunteers and after a site induction did an amazing job, spending three hours clearing weeds from along the lower walking track, a very busy and popular location.

“We were delighted and impressed with their efforts clearing dense infestations of Lantana and Senna.

“Once completed, our volunteers will be able to plant out this area with local native species including Banksia, Wattles and Casuarinas as part of the long-term process of returning the headland to its former very diverse environment,” he said.

Kevin told News Of The Area how the volunteering initiative came into being.

“Our decision to offer a weeding team to our local Landcare was inspired by a commitment to community engagement fostered by Spirax Group, our parent company since September 2022,” he said.

Spirax employees can access Community Engagement Leave, granting them 48 hours of paid leave annually to contribute to community causes.

While they were eager to make a meaningful impact, finding suitable volunteer opportunities proved challenging.
“Despite organising successful cleanup events, such as our recent initiative to remove 420 kg of rubbish from behind the rugby fields, sustaining such efforts independently was difficult,” Kevin said.

“In our quest for impactful community involvement, we turned to Landcare, recognising their expertise in environmental stewardship and their myriad projects in need of support.”

Collaborating with Landcare allowed the business to leverage its administrative resources and environmental knowledge, ensuring that the volunteers’ efforts are not only beneficial but also sustainable.

“By partnering with Landcare, we can confidently contribute to the growth and preservation of our local environment, aligning with our company’s ethos of service and responsibility,” said Kevin.

“To attract volunteers, we crafted a compelling flyer and distributed it throughout the factory premises.

“Additionally, we promoted the opportunity during our staff meetings and toolbox sessions, ensuring that every team member was informed and encouraged to participate.”

The response exceeded expectations, with enthusiastic sign-ups.

For manageability, each team will be made up of six volunteers, each with balanced representation from various departments, including sales, design, production and management.

This means a mixed skill set while fostering cross-departmental collaboration and camaraderie.

“Despite the typical challenges associated with inaugural events, we were pleasantly surprised by Landcare’s impeccable organisation,” said Kevin.

“They provided a comprehensive briefing at the outset, covering safety protocols and offering valuable insights into our work site and its significance.

“Their briefing included essential information about identifying target weeds and preserving native plants, as well as enlightening us about the area’s indigenous history and its importance.

“Once we ventured into the work area, although none of us were experienced in weeding, we quickly found our rhythm.

“Within minutes, our collective effort began to make a noticeable impact, evident in the substantial piles of removed weeds.”

Three hours flew by in a blur of focused work, reported Kevin.

“The morning’s accomplishments were tangible, with visible transformations in the landscape showcasing the effectiveness of our teamwork.

“Overall, it was a highly rewarding experience, and we left with a sense of fulfilment, knowing that our efforts had made a meaningful difference.”

The next phase in Vulcanic Tee’s project involves continuing its partnership with Landcare, with three more events scheduled for 2024 and the potential for ongoing collaboration in the years ahead.

“Our aim is to deepen our involvement with Landcare’s projects, further contributing to environmental conservation efforts and fostering a culture of community engagement within our organisation,” he said.

CHRL is now hoping that other community minded businesses will consider offering volunteer assistance to help improve the local natural environment.

“They can do so by contacting the local Landcare office from Monday to Thursday on 6651 1308,” said Barry.


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