UTAS CARES seeks to connect staff and students from the University of Tasmania with a broad range of volunteer environmental care groups in Southern Tasmania, giving them the opportunity to engage with our unique Tasmanian environment, culture and community.
The collaboration between the University of Tasmania, NRM South, Landcare Tasmania, City of Hobart Bushcare, Birdlife Tasmania and the Parks and Wildlife Service was initiated in late 2015 by Dr Elizabeth Shannon. Dr Shannon is a Senior Lecturer in Postgraduate Programs at the UTas School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, as well as being a dedicated environmental volunteer with Wildcare Deslacs. Her interest is in the positive physical and psychological benefits that volunteering can have on volunteers, as well as the obvious environmental outcomes.
Dr Shannon recently launched a dedicated new website, explaining that “University of Tasmania researchers and community-based citizen scientists now have a convenient way to share ecological research opportunities and ideas – and to find out what work has already taken place”. The initiative also has a social media platform for publicising ‘direct action’ volunteer opportunities; www.facebook.com/UTasCares.
UTAS CARES received funding through a University of Tasmania Community Engagement Grant, which has been matched by NRM South and the Southern Tasmania Volunteer Coordinator’s Network. 2016 is a pilot year and focuses on the Southern NRM Region, but it is hoped to expand State-wide in the future.