National Parks to use volunteers as Montague Island tour guides

National Parks and Wildlife Service has decided to introduce volunteer guides to greet visitors and conduct day tours on Montague Island.

With annual day tour visitor numbers increasing and to support NPWS field staff in the delivery of conservation outcomes, NPWS conducted a trial of the delivery of day tours by volunteers in early 2017. 

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Narooma-based Discovery coordinator Cassandra Bendixsen will be the supervisor and trainer for the Montague Island Nature Reserve Volunteer Guide Program.

Mrs Bendixsen said it was expected that volunteers would live and work on Montague Island Nature Reserve for the duration of the shift.

“There will be a NPWS presence on Montague Island at all times during the volunteer experience,” she said. “Volunteers will liaise directly with the NPWS Montague Island Nature Reserve duty officer regarding daily volunteer guide tasks while on the island.”

Vessel transport will be aboard the NPWS vessel Shearwater II, with accommodation provided in the shared living quarters in the assistant keeper’s northern quarters.

When not conducting tours on behalf of NPWS, all other time on Montague Island would be free for the volunteers.

NPWS was anticipating that volunteers would sign up for two to three Montague shifts throughout the year, she said.

“Volunteers will be provided with thorough individual and group training and support prior to their stay on Montague, ensuring they feel comfortable and able to deliver tours to a high standard,” she said.

“On arrival on-shift on Montague Island, volunteers will then be given an induction regarding relevant tour and island operations, before ‘shadowing’ a NPWS staff member in the delivery of a full tour prior to conducting any tour themselves.

“During the peak visitor and wildlife season, NPWS requires two volunteers stationed on the island at all times to support NPWS staff in the delivery of tours.  At all other times, only one volunteer may be required.”

All potential volunteers must provide a Working with Children Check and a National Police Check, as well as two personal references. Aboriginal people are encouraged to apply for this program.

All overnight visitors to Montague Island Nature Reserve must agree to the terms and conditions for a visit to Montague as set out in the attached Code of Conduct.

Those interested in finding out more about the volunteer program should contact Mrs Bendixsen via email at Cassandra.Bendixsen@environment.nsw.gov.au