As a tramper Jenny Kerrisk used to cover a lot of ground. It wasn’t till she began volunteering at the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, and more recently helping Taranaki Mounga bring back robin to Mt Taranaki, that she learnt to take her time in the bush.

“I come from a tramping background so a lot of my attitude was ground covering A to B, but now I’ve learnt to take notice of the bush and wildlife, especially birds, like robin, tieke, and hihi, they’re all my favourites now,” she says.

After eight years volunteering at Rotokare she has done it all, weekly trap clearing, track clearing, bird monitoring – you name it. This year she was one of a group who travelled to Pureora Forest to pre-feed toutouwai/robin before they were caught and released on Mt Taranaki.

“Robin haven’t been on Mt Taranaki for an awfully long time, so it was kind of weird to think we carried those boxes into the forest and you let the birds out and when they come out and sing all those other birds in that bush have never actually heard that sound before, its quite emotional,” she says.

Jenny will return to Mt Taranaki to monitor the robin. Volunteers from Rotokare have contributed over 1,300 volunteer hours towards the translocation of the toutouwai and are likely to spend many more helping monitor the birds in spring.

Taranaki Mounga Director Jan Hania says the help from Rotokare has been invaluable. “Collaboration really is the key to making real change to the environmental landscape in Taranaki and with neighbours like Rotokare and other groups under the Wild for Taranaki banner I know we can achieve great things for the biodiversity of the region.”

For Jenny, conservation volunteering has provided her with wonderful opportunities and she would recommend it to anyone.

“The satisfaction of not only working in a fantastic beautiful office, but always feeling useful. There’s always been something I can contribute, I started off being really fit, not so much of that now, doesn’t matter what your fitness level is there’s always something you can do,” she says.

Contact Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust if you want to volunteer.