The Friends of Parks SA organisation is suitable for people of all ages who have an interest in the incredible diversity of the state’s plants and animals.
If you’re interested in volunteering with one of our many member groups, these FAQs provide you with some more information.
I'd like to volunteer. What steps should I take to join a group?
STEP 1: Find your Friends Group
Search our Member Directory to find a group in your area of interest. You can then visit their member page which will provide you with contact details.
STEP 2: Contact your Friends Group
Contact a Friends Group and enquire about what activities they engage in and the types of roles you could enjoy.
In liaison with their ranger, each Friends Group decides upon a range of activities it wishes to undertake in a park. How you contribute depends on what your personal goals are. Activities can focus upon biodiversity conservation and/or cultural heritage projects.
Biodiversity conservation requires a range of strategies that often emphasise bushcare techniques (minimal disturbance weeding) but also can require chemical or biological control of weeds and/or feral animals.
Mapping and/or monitoring of species can provide an opportunity to use or develop knowledge of particular plants or birds. Also photographic skills!
Heritage projects can utilise and develop maintenance and construction skills or research skills as you delve into the history of a site.
There are other opportunities available! Producing newsletters or publicising the work of your group or issues at your site; creating information displays; organising educational or cultural events, or the social program for your group. And the challenge of fundraising can exercise and develop the creative talents of others.
Attend the next meeting and/or working bee of the Friends Group.
STEP 3: Become a Member
Most Friends Groups require a small joining fee, and operates autonomously, in liaison with their district staff. You will receive a copy of the induction document which explains how you can become a responsible and valued contributor.
What are the benefits of your group joining Friends of Parks Inc?
BENEFITS OF JOINING FRIENDS OF PARKS INC.
Joining Friends of Parks SA has many benefits, and has a very simple application process.
Firstly, please visit the Friends of Parks website: https://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/publications
where you can find a current copy of our Constitution. You would need to read it, and advise us that agree with our objectives.
Application for Membership
Your group would need to simply send an email to the Friends of Parks Inc. Board (which meets on the first Thursday of every second month – February, April, August, October, and December) to apply. You would need to state your group’s existence, what it does, who would be the contact, and that you have read and agree with the objectives of the Friends of Parks Inc. Constitution. If approved, the cost is:
$10 a year for full membership and five votes at the AGM (to rise to $20 per year from 1/1/2022)
$15 a year for affiliate membership and one vote at the AGM (to rise to $30 per year from 1/1/2022)
You may choose to pay for multiple years.
This is depending on the Board’s decision, and following the Board meeting, you would be advised of the outcome.
If your group has an issue and needs support or advice from the Friends of Parks Inc. Board, there is an advocacy process where you can put forward your issue, which the Board will discuss and try to provide advise, support, or assistance.
If your group is not incorporated, it would need to have a sponsor to apply for grants etc. Friends of Parks Inc. can be a sponsor for unincorporated groups (on request). Groups that are already incorporated do not need this assistance. Over thirty (30) member groups are incorporated in their own right, and are warmly welcomed as members. It is entirely up to each group to consider if it wants to be incorporated, but the majority of groups would not need to be incorporated (which means writing a Constitution, forming a Management Committee, etc.).
Australian Business Number – ABN
Most Friends of Parks Inc. member groups do have their own Australian Business Number – this makes it much easier to receive grant funding/do business. If you are not sure if you have an ABN, or wish to apply for one, visit: https://abr.business.gov.au/
Goods and Services Tax – GST
Friends of Parks Inc. is registered for GST, as are about 10% of larger Friends of Parks Inc. member groups that deal with gate takings, souvenirs, etc. It is entirely up to each group to consider this, but the majority of groups would not need to be registered for GST (which also means lodging quarterly BAS statements etc).
Friends of Parks Inc. does fund some training opportunities, and your members would be able to access this training after being endorsed by the President or Secretary. Also, we have membership with Volunteering SA&NT, so you can access training and services provided.
This membership gives you a postcard on the Friends of Parks Inc. website which you can manage yourself, and use for advertising of upcoming events, sharing newsletters, information about your group etc. https://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/home
There is also a Members Shop, where members of the public can purchase Friends of Parks Inc. merchandise, online. Groups are welcome to also sell their merchandise in the shop.
We receive lots of information from other groups about upcoming planting days, guest speakers, plant sales, etc. Generally we put this information on the website, and every week or so we send out a list to Member Groups, of new additions to the website, via email.
The membership of Friends of Parks Inc. is currently 102 member groups, and 38 affiliate groups (135 member groups). You might also like to ‘like’ our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Friendsofparkssa and you can also ask us to post information on your group’s behalf.
Unique Code Number for Online Bookings
All Friends of Parks Inc. Member Groups receive a Unique Code Number, to issue to active members (must attend working bees or be involved with admin duties), to use for online bookings for camping etc.
The Friends Unique Code Number allows the holder a concession to the following facilities of DEW:
- Free entry to all parks in the State where vehicle entry fees apply (excluding the Simpson Desert).
- 25% concession on the Desert Parks Pass. (50% concession on the Desert Parks Pass for Desert
Parks Friends Groups. You must buy your own booklet with the pass.)
- 25% concession on the cost of personal access and guided tours in parks, state-wide, where such
tours are operated by the Department for Environment and Water).
- 25% concession on the use of facilities in parks, statewide.
- Free camping for up to five nights in any one location, state-wide.
Will I receive training?
The Friends of Parks SA Board and NPWS staff can assist with training opportunities in consultation with rangers and specialist DEW officers. The Friends of Parks SA Inc. Board also sponsors some training each year i.e. bushcare.
NPWS offers some training courses including chainsaw use, flora identification, safe use of chemicals etc.
Many friends become members of a friends group because of an interest in fauna, flora, history, heritage or geology. Over time they collectively accumulate a wealth of knowledge about many of the above and in particular the park you have friended.
What are my responsibilities?
Enjoy your volunteering experiences.
Respect the park in which you have an interest and treat it as if was your own.
Follow safety instructions as and when required to protect yourself and your fellow friends. A good general rule when you are not sure is to ask yourself “what would a reasonable person do in these circumstances?” All volunteers are covered by the Volunteer Protection Act as discussed at “Am I protected.”
Apart from planting, weeding, trail making etc. you may also volunteer to be a Friends of Parks SA Board member – perhaps even a President, Secretary or Treasurer. These are positions that carry specific responsibilities.
Am I covered for insurance?
To ensure protection for the organisation and volunteers in relation to personal injury, organisations may need to consider obtaining specific insurance cover. This additional cover can provide benefits to volunteers following injury, disability or even death while carrying out duties for their organisation. A volunteer is not protected under the Act if they:
- act illegally
- are affected by alcohol or illicit drugs
- defame someone
- act outside or contrary to activities authorised by the organisation
- In effect, the Act transfers personal liability from the individual to the organisation
Discover your local parks
The Friends of Parks organisation is suitable for people of all ages who have in interest in the wonderful diversity found in the state’s national parks and reserves.
So why not find a Friends group in your area of interest, visit their member page, and get in touch with them to find out what activities they engage in, and the types of roles you could enjoy.
Join a Group