Volunteer Spotlight – November 2014

Name: Elise Budden
Volunteer Since: October 2014
Volunteers as: Web Reporter, Planter, Surveyor & Mapper, Tree Sales, Office Support

Autobiography: With dreams of saving the world, volunteering overseas, and travelling distant lands, I took a year of leave from my work as an Environmental Scientist in Australia to volunteer and travel Canada and South America. From Sydney to Peru I flew and backpacked through South America for five months. I trekked in the Amazon rainforest, volunteered in a local animal rescue organisation in Bolivia and watched Australia almost defeat the Netherlands in the Football World Cup. I am humbled by the beautiful natural landscapes I travelled across and the enriching cultural experience I gained. In August I travelled to Canada from Brazil to partake in the Rotary International New Generations Exchange Program. The program brought me to London for three months to volunteer with ReForest London to further my career and learn about environmental conservation overseas.

In the environmental conservation field we often work hard to conserve the environment but do not see the outcomes of our efforts. Over the past month I’ve had the pleasure of planting trees with hundreds of like-minded individuals and been able to step back and picture the planting area that will succeed into a forest and provide habitat for many animal species and hopefully threatened species. We do a lot of damage to Mother Nature and it’s not often we get the chance to kick start the generation of a forest to repair her. In twenty years I will visit to London to see the forest filled with hundreds of native plant species, as well as all of Ontario’s fabulous fauna including deer, coyotes, racoons, squirrels, and skunks.

Working with ReForest London has reignited my dream of working with Indigenous people to conserve habitat for threatened species across the world.

Reflections on Volunteering: Thank you immensely to the Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise and the Rotary Club of London South for enabling this fantastic, career-building exchange, and for giving me the opportunity to work with the wonderful staff at ReForest London who have welcomed me warmly and supported my exchange.

Thanks for coming to London to volunteer with us Elise!