Friends groups

A man is kneeling on a leafy area holding a native seedling

A Friends group is a group of volunteers with an interest in a particular park, reserve or species of native plant or animal. The groups are generally named after their area of focus, such as Friends of Watery Gully.

Volunteers work with Council’s Environmental Works Officers to plan works and get involved in planting, weed control, mulching, plant and animal monitoring, as well as special events such as National Tree Day. 

Friends groups play a vital role in protecting threatened natural environments, as well as making Nillumbik a more beautiful place to live.

It’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and help protect and enhance our significant bushland reserves. You’ll feel connected to your local area, improve your physical and mental wellbeing, connect with others and have fun! 

What to expect 

Many groups organise monthly work activities and a yearly calendar of events. Other groups are more informal, and run a small number of activities each year. The groups each determine how they operate, but whatever way they operate, it’s a great forum for local residents to meet and share a common interest.

Each group has a convenor who will induct new members, and the groups are supported by an Environmental Works Officer within Council.

What’s required

  • Activities generally run for three hours, but there is no time commitment.
  • Volunteers must wear appropriate gear including gloves, long trousers, long-sleeved shirt, steel-capped safety boots, sunscreen and a hat. 
  • A Working with Children Check.
  • Volunteers need their own transport, however groups can car pool. If you are interested in joining a group and don’t have transport, please contact the Environment Works and Land Management team to discuss. 

Who it’s for

All ages are suitable and no experience is required. 

You can learn from the groups and training can be provided by Council if needed. Training can help you get an understanding of issues related to land management and revegetation of degraded sites. You can also get informal training from Environmental Works officers at group activities in areas such as plant identification, revegetation techniques, weed control and using tools.

There are also opportunities to volunteer in less physical roles. Some groups like to keep their members up to date with what is happening in their park or reserve and local area through a regular newsletter. Others like to inform the neighbourhood of upcoming activities and events to encourage new members. If being out on site or physical work is difficult, volunteering in these roles is still valuable for Friends groups.

More information can be found in the Friends group manual(PDF, 2MB).

How to get involved

To join a group, email the convenor. 

Bend of Islands

Bend of Islands Conservation Association
Contact Sue Grad
Call 0439 101 962
Visit Bend of Islands Conservation Association website

Round the Bend Conservation Cooperative
Call 9712 0534
Visit Round the Best website 

Eltham

Friends of Diamond Creek, Eltham Lower Park
Contact Sue Dyet
Call 9439 1175
Email suedyet@hotmail.com 

Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly
Contact Wayne Kinrade
Call 0414 880 658
Email kinradew@gmail.com

Friends of the Eyrie Reserve
Third Sunday of every month 10am-12pm
Zig Zag Rd access (opposite number 96 Zig Zag Road)
Contact Jennifer Willshire
Call 0415 332 723
Email jennifer.willshire@hotmail.com

Friends of Woodridge Linear Reserve 
Contact Robert Marshall
Call 0414 547 181
Email marshallplan@bigpond.com

Friends of Karingal Yalloc
Contact Ian Burns
Call 9435 8603
Email ibgburns@gmail.com

Friends of McMahon Ball Paddock 
Contact Jill Kellow
Call 9439 2194
Email jnkellow@gmail.com 

Friends of Frank St Reserve
Contact Anne
Email anielsen3@bigpond.com  

Friends of Biodiversity - Hohnes Hill
Contact Vicky Shukuroglou
Call 0410 425 485
Email friendsofbiodiversityhh@email.org.au

Friends of Green Place - Edendale Farm
Contact Evan Gellert
Email evangellert33@gmail.com

Greensborough

Friends of Plenty River Walk
Contact Colin Broughton 
Email broughton.colin@gmail.com

Hurstbridge

Friends of Diamond Creek - Hurstbridge
Contact Bill Hall
Call 0408 124 564
Email bnehall@bigpond.com

Friends of Temple Ridge
Contact Merrilyn Sanderson
Email merrilyn.sanderson@gmail.com 

Kangaroo Ground

Friends of Moor-rul Reconciliation Grasslands
Contact Jill Kellow
Email jnjellow@gmail.com

Nutfield

Friends of Mine Road Reserve
Contact Peter Yates/Sarah Brenan
Call 0417 421 610
Email pmyates974@gmail.com

Panton Hill

Bunjil food, fibre and medicine garden
Contact Penelope Aitken
Call 0411 274 472
Email 
penelope.aitken@gmail.com

Plenty

Montmorency Field Naturalists
Contact Julia Davis
Call 9439 2378 
Email juliadavis@optusnet.com.au

Research

Friends of Yarramie Reserve
Contact Therese Scales
Call 9437 2429
Email theresescales@gmail.com

Friends of Swipers Gully Creek
Contact Joy Pagon
Call 0400 878 950
Email r.pagons@bigpond.com

Friends of Grove Street
Contact Corinne Mays
Call 0407 879 932
Email frogsineltham@gmail.com

Smiths Gully

Trustees and Friends of Queenstown Cemetery
Contact Maryanne Freeman
Call 0417 117 949
Email freemanelectser@netspace.net.au

Warrandyte

Coalition of Warrandyte Friends Groups 
Contact Alex McCullum
Call 9844 4431
Email friendsofpbc@mac.com

Wattle Glen

Friends of Watery Gully
Contact George Collins (interim contact)
Email george.collins@nillumbik.vic.gov.au
Call 0474 822 858

Shire wide

Australian Plants Society Yarra Yarra Group
Contact Mike Williams
Call 0418 372 262
Email apsyarrayarra@gmail.com 
Visit the APS Yarra Yarra's website

If there isn’t a Friends group in your area, you can set up your own. To set up a group talk to Council - all you will need is a contact person and a number of like-minded people in your area, along with an idea of the work that the group would like to do.