Outdoor jobs for volunteers

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Helping out . . . Trail Crew volunteers (from left) Richard Holmes, Brian Boyce, Department of Conservation recreation ranger Shay Van der Hurk, volunteer Katrina Thompson and volunteer project facilitator Catherine Hosted on the Organ Pipes. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Getting Dunedin people outdoors while teaching them track maintenance and ranger skills is the aim of a new volunteer programme, its facilitator says.

Trail Crew is a collaboration between the Dunedin City Council and the Department of Conservation.

DCC parks and recreation volunteer projects facilitator Catherine Hosted said the idea had come from Doc recreation ranger Shay Van der Hurk, who wanted to give people the experience of improving skills and being in the outdoors that he had got while training to be a Doc ranger.

Since promoting the project in November last year, she had received more than 100 expressions of interest from the Dunedin public, she said.

Ms Hosted said various roles were available, from maintaining tracks and weeding, to looking at track design and being able to analyse the state of a track and whether it was in a good condition for the level of difficulty it was supposed to be.

They did not just focus on trail work, however, and a group recently helped the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group with trap lines.

Ms Hosted had led a couple of groups on expeditions on Dunedin tracks since May.

Many of the volunteers had never visited the areas before, which was one of the benefits of being involved in Trail Crew.

This project is a really good opportunity for people to see places they wouldn’t have thought of going to, upskilling for free and socialising with people.”