Committed to measuring and evaluating our work and impact on people and nature.

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) works with communities to rebalance nature for a stronger, more resilient future. Operating since 1982, CVA has been creating and growing significant environmental and community initiatives across Australia. We engage communities and collaborate with government and other organisations to connect people with nature by implementing action-based initiatives with positive wellbeing and environmental outcomes.

Read our “Deep Roots, Strong Future” report.

With a 40-year history and goal of empowering another million actions for nature by 2030, we’re able to use long-term, real-world data to gauge our effectiveness in each of our three interconnected impact areas:

Healthier environments

More active stewardship for nature

Increased wellbeing

CVA has developed a custom-built Impact Measurement Framework backed by Accenture to assess our performance, and research supported by Bupa shows there’s already strong evidence that our work really does measure up.

Our Theory of Change

CVA’s unique contribution is that people engaged through CVA’s actions for nature become agents for nature-positive change in their community, feel an increased sense of purpose from their nature stewardship and that threats to ecological function are being reduced in local environments.

 

Impact area 1

Healthier environments

Our first impact area is all about demonstrating improvements in nature. Just as human health is better when systems are in balance, nature needs its own life-support systems to function properly and thrive. That’s why we support our community to take meaningful actions for nature, such as:

  • creating pollinator-friendly spaces wherever they live because pollination is a key ecological process.
  • removing plastics from the ocean food web, because a clean food web is essential for the health of our marine life.
  • creating customised habitat elements to replace and supplement those lost in fire, floods, or urban development, because all wildlife needs a home.

– and many more.

 

Homes for urban wildlife don't need to be complicated to have impact

 

Impact area 2

More active stewardship for nature

We aim to build Australia’s largest community of nature stewards – people who not only care, but who are active in taking care of nature. Every action for nature, no matter how small, can make a local difference and inspire others to do the same.

We count action for nature across our national community of volunteers. Whether they’re actions that contribute to ecological knowledge through citizen science, create more nature-friendly places for wildlife in suburbia, or contribute to restoring important places further afield throughout Australia, it’s exciting to see that people do care, and are putting that caring into practice, every day.

We’ve shown2 that people involved in CVA stewardship activities feel more empowered to lead action in their communities (94% of respondents) and build skills to do so (88% of respondents).

 

Caring for nature can happen in many ways

 

Impact area 3

Increased wellbeing

Research1 shows 94% of people report a significant increase in their sense of belonging and purpose, as well as increased environmental literacy, skills and capabilities after participating in CVA activities.

Put simply, we have a positive effect on how people feel about themselves. At a time when many people feel disempowered by world crises, knowing we’re helping to build personal resilience – and a strong sense of community – says that what we’re doing has real value.

 

“Spending time with CVA changed almost everything for me. I grew as a person. From being caught in a cycle of depression and anxiety, I was given the space and time to find greater purpose, it gave me back confidence in my abilities in a working environment but also just as a human being and what I can contribute to the lives of others. Working with, and in nature, side by side with beautiful like-minded people helped me to heal and gave me hope for my future.” 
– CVA program participant, 2022

 

Nature is often the best medicine

 

If you’d like to know more about how and what we’re measuring or would like to help us to amplify our impact, we’d love to hear from you.

1,2Clear Horizon EMF Workshop Report, August 2022

To achieve these outcomes, CVA engages volunteers in nature stewardship projects across three conservation areas:

Biodiversity

Ocean & Wetlands

Climate Resilience

Citizen science & conservation

We know that it’s not always easy to find time to volunteer with us, so we’ve created ways for people to take action anywhere, anytime. Everyone can take part and make a contribution to the conservation of biodiversity.

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