Volunteers have always been the heart and soul of CAFNEC. For over 30 years volunteers have provided us with a huge amount of support for our campaigns and day-to-day activities.
There are many ways you can help advocate for the protection of our unique tropical Far North Queensland environment – from office administration to research, media and promotions to event logistics. Volunteers also gain valuable experience and skills in campaigning, running events and various other areas.
Volunteer roles often needed at CAFNEC:
- Helping at information stalls at weekend markets, festivals and other events
- Research and writing
- Digital communications
- Graphic design and artwork
- Event organising
- Data entry
If you are specifically interested in the marine environment, check out the work of our dedicated volunteer group – the CAFNEC Marine Response Team – by visiting the website at www.marineteam.org.
Some thoughts from previous CAFNEC volunteers
Kathrin Haeffner 2011-2012
“I can highly recommend volunteering with Cafnec. It`s big fun and pushes your career.”
I recently finished my Masters as an international student in Natural Resource Management at James Cook University in Cairns. I volunteered during my degree with the Cairns and far North Environment Centre.
It was big fun and I learned a lot of valuable skills and met many amazing people. My main job was volunteer work for the Protect our Coral Sea campaign, which resulted in the establishment of the world´s largest Marine National Park in 2012. It was super exciting seeing the different stages of the campaign and the unbelievable success. The success of the campaign went around the world. I read a lot about it back home in Germany, and I immediately got an internship as Marine Campaigner with the German Environment Aid in Berlin after returning home due to my experience with Cafnec.
The German Environment Aid is a NGO with several offices around Germany and round about 100 employees. I am now a Trainee Marine Campaigner and I start developing my first own campaign about sustainable fish consumption. I can highly recommend volunteering with Cafnec. It`s big fun and pushes your career.
Ina Richter 2009
My name is Ina, I am a German student who spent the last four months in Cairns. As I am a passionate advocate for environmental protection, I took the opportunity to get involved with CAFNEC as a volunteer while dwelling in Far North Queensland. Working closely with CAFNEC’s campaigner Steve Ryan, I became involved with a variety of issues concerning the protection of FNQ’s extraordinary environment. I represented CAFNEC at local group and company meetings, helped to organise the Public Candidates Forum during the lead-up to the Queensland State Election in March, did some research work as well as document and letter writing. A few times my work got me in touch with other local conservation groups such as the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Environmental Defenders Office. Thus I got an insight into different areas of environmental protection work such as green management, as well as political lobbying and environmental policy-making and law. Working mainly independently, I was at any time free to choose the amount of time and kind of work I did.
“Thus I got an insight into different areas of environmental protection work such as green management, as well as political lobbying and environmental policy-making and law. Working mainly independently, I was at any time free to choose the amount of time and kind of work I did.”
Working as a volunteer not only gave me the opportunity to contribute to the security of a better future for our planet but also the chance to learn from the experience of the skilled workers at CAFNEC. This time as a volunteer exposed me to different environmental issues and cultural differences and how to deal with them. It has truly broadened my view from a national to a global model. It also became very clear to me how important it is to empower a strong community with knowledge about the importance of environmental protection and sustainability.
Overall it was a very interesting and enjoyable time to work as part of the team at CAFNEC. My special thanks go to Steve who has spent much time in providing me with background information and helping me to deal with my assignments. He has very much encouraged me to pursue my way in the green movement. I hope that there will be numerous volunteers helping CAFNEC to deliver services beyond its budget, make a fundamental contribution to the protection of FNQ’s outstanding environment, but also gain knowledge and skills.
Brittney Sawhill 2009
As a college student double majoring in Human Development and Environmental Studies, I hope to one day work with children in an outdoor setting teaching them through hands on experiences about environmental problems and how we can alter our lifestyle to help save the beautiful world we live in.
During my time at college, I try to keep a balanced appetite for school, social life, keeping physically active, and a long time passion of mine – travelling. I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and I attend Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. For my junior year, I decided to spend a semester at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. During my stay, my appetite seemed to lack my usual taste for academics, but I had a massive craving to make the most of every moment and to see and do all things new.
Whilst in Australia, I did a lot of travelling and made the friends of a life time. Towards the end of my stay, I decided it was time to get some international experience in the environmental field. I heard about CAFNEC through a librarian at JCU (he was my saving grace through late night cramming, paper jams and other such technical difficulties). Soon after hearing about it, I was in the office doing research for the controversial Coral Sea Campaign. There was a lot of research to sift through, but soon enough I found the root of the issue.
“It was great to join a team that was so intelligent, light hearted, constructive, and focused on priorities. At CAFNEC, I really felt they needed and enjoyed my input.”
After I had educated myself a little more about the values of the Coral Sea, I began to get excited about my involvement in this important campaign. Although I had previous campaigning experience, this was a new and more pleasant side to political issues. It was great to join a team that was so intelligent, light hearted, constructive, and focused on priorities. At CAFNEC, I really felt they needed and enjoyed my input. One of my favorite parts of working with CAFNEC was attending the Kuranda Roots Festival and setting up an information booth about the Coral Sea Campaign. The booth was well received and was a very enjoyable experience for me.
I also helped advertise the Wilderness Bike Tour which I one day hope to return to Australia and do myself. Doing my environmental internship with CAFNEC was a choice opportunity to meet and work with such genuine people on global environmental issues. As I return to the States, my hope is to keep in touch with members of CAFNEC and also keep myself updated on the Coral Sea Campaign. If you or anyone you know wants to get involved in volunteering for a good cause or get their foot in the door of the environmental field – CAFNEC comes highly recommended by me.