Meet the Volunteers – Melanie Orchard

Melanie Orchard

Before conservation I was an aged care nurse. I found being a nurse was very rewarding and satisfying although at times very emotional. I decided I needed a change but I still wanted to have a job with just as much meaning. I come from a long line of plant lovers (my last name is Orchard after all) so my love for the environment became a stepping stone for my new and exciting career choice.

I started working for Conservation Volunteers Australia as a Green Jobs Corp participant in 2010 and I absolutely loved it. In that time I was trained by Jacinta as my team leader and Ailee as my educator two amazing women in this industry and I believe without these two ladies’ knowledge and support I wouldn’t be where I am today.
At the end of my course I applied to be a CVA team leader….and got it!!! It was very unexpected as I had only been in this industry for 6 months and now I am coming up to my 6th year and I wouldn’t change a thing.
My favourite thing about my job? Tough question! There are many aspects of my job that I love it’s hard to pin point one.
The variety of sites I go to every week seeing some amazing places that are right under your noise but would never get to see unless you were part of this organisation. Seeing such gratitude from project partners and being able to work with my volunteers we are like a family that keeps on growing. Day in day out my volunteers give %110 and I couldn’t do it without them.
Brogers Creek
My favourite site.. Another tough question but I would have to say Brogers Creek in Kangaroo Valley. This is a site you have to see to believe, to the trickling of water falling between the old creek rocks to the birds nest ferns, stag-horns, orchids sitting above you on the branches of tall trees this site is truly picturesque not to mention the wildlife from the wombats to the echidna to even a stray platypus. This site keeps on giving.
If your thinking of volunteering. STOP…. And just do it. My office isn’t staring at a computer or leaning over a hard desk, my job is seeing what nature has to offer in my own back yard, why would I change that? I wouldn’t!
Mel with a team of international volunteers