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Extreme volunteering – with no coffee breaks

18 February 2015

An “extreme volunteer” on the Atherton Tableland certainly won’t be looking for sponsorship from the caffeine drink companies that sponsor extreme sports.

Simon Burchill is focused on training volunteers to rip coffee bush Coffea arabica out of our national parks, and is in his element in the difficult terrain and and dense spiny vegetation where this weed species grows.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Principal Ranger Andrew Millerd said Simon was chosen by Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) to support the Coffee Breaks weed removal project at Crater Lakes National Park. 

“The project is funded by QPWS and supported by CVA,” Mr Millerd said.

“Simon revels in leading CVA volunteers to coffee sites, and training them in eradication techniques and mapping. QPWS now has an excellent data base on which to base any further work.”

Mr Millerd said that even in low light, coffee plants could grow and produce flowers and fruit. Left unattended, coffee bush could spread throughout the national parks, displacing native plants.

Simon’s efforts were recognised by QPWS which awarded him an Australia Day 2015 Volunteer Appreciation Certificate. 

In front of 40 volunteers, Simon received his award at a Friday volunteer session at the QPWS Restoration Services Nursery at Lake Eacham.

“Thanks to Simon’s leadership, knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm, coffee weed has largely been removed from these beautiful national parks,” Mr Millerd said.

“Simon committed over 100 hours in 2014 on the project and it is difficult to see how it could have progressed so far without his efforts.

“Thanks to all those involved in this project, but in particular, thanks Simon!”

Last updated
18 February 2015