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For our fifth anniversary the local volunteer project landed in Dublin, Ireland with 40 willing volunteer delegates joining forces to tackle a rogue plant that’s threatening the future of a small island just outside the city.
At just 5 km long and 800 m wide, Bull Island is overrun by sea-buckthorn, a thorny plant that was introduced by local golf courses believing it would enhance the sand dunes and provide hedging.
Unfortunately the plant is having the opposite effect, turning the dunes from their original habitat into common grassland; it also prevents native plants from coming through and is contributing to coastal erosion.
Armed with saws, clippers and all-important safety goggles, the team moved around the dunes, cutting back the plant and covering the stumps with the clippings to reduce the possibility of regrowth.
“It was a great way to start WYSTC 2014,” said Martijn van der Put from Khaya Volunteer Projects, South Africa (first time WYSTC attendee). “I enjoyed doing my bit for the environment and also getting to know some of my fellow delegates in a completely different environment before the main event got underway.”
Conservation Volunteers Australia provided the Sydney project. We headed to the Queens Park in Centennial Parkland, one of Australia’s best known and most historic parks. Our group of volunteers spent the morning painting heritage fences and mulching under large fig trees.
Community (indoors): Food Banks play an important part of all community services; our volunteers lent a helping hand at the San Diego Food Bank, which provides food to over 350,000 people every month.
The InOut Hostel provided an opportunity to tour the grounds and gain an understanding of how the hostel runs, including its unique methodology and advanced efforts to stay green. Our volunteers then worked side-by-side the hostel’s employees, who are all disabled, which is what makes this hostel both exceptional and inspirational.
Banc dels Aliments (Food bank Barcelona) is a large non-profit organisation in Barcelona with a distribution system in place to help fight hunger. Each year, they collect nearly 4 million kilograms of food for over 90,000 people. Our volunteers helped with the sorting and boxing of food.
EduChina provided our volunteers with the opportunity to provide English classes and to meet students and educators from one of Beijing’s most deserving schools Beijing Century Experimental School (Bai Nian School), as well as meeting representatives from local universities, media, educational and volunteer organizations, and the Chinese government at Wen Xian Hui, to meet and discuss the future of volunteer programs and international educational exchange in China.
Volunteers for International Partnership and the Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) arranged this project for us in Miami. Our volunteers worked alongside FANM, the Haitian Womens’ Organisation of Miami, and assisted in organising and sorting donations such as clothes, tents and hygiene kits to send to Haiti.