Strengthening Bonds Through Nature: CVA’s Renewed Partnership with Neighbours Every Day

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is proud to announce it has renewed its partnership with Relationships Australia.

As a ‘Very Neighbourly Organisation’, Conservation Volunteers Australia is proud to uphold and promote the principles of Neighbours Every Day. We are committed to helping increase respectful relationships across Australia and create belonging through the power of conservation volunteering.

Neighbours Every Day is Relationships Australia’s social connection campaign. It is the leading Australian campaign promoting the benefits of social connection and building capacity for all Australians to make and maintain respectful relationships.

 

 

Conservation Volunteers Australia understands the importance of increasing social connection in neighbourly communities as research continues to demonstrate the mental health and wellbeing benefits of reconnecting with nature, including combating social isolation and loneliness.

 

 

Nature as a Common Bond

At the core of our partnership with Neighbours Every Day is the shared belief that nature can unite people.

Nature transcends boundaries and brings individuals together in a unique and meaningful way. Every year, tens of thousands of volunteers across Australia contribute to conserving special places, reinforcing this bond.

 

 

Sonia Oke, a valued member of our community with over 19 years of experience at CVA as an employee and a partner, shares her insights. She underscores that volunteering in nature nurtures respectful relationships. Sonia acknowledges the challenges adults often face when trying to connect with new people, drawing from her personal experience when she moved from Adelaide to Melbourne 12 years ago.

Sonia reflects,

“Working alongside others outdoors, sharing a common goal – all of that creates connections. Meaningful connections.”

She also observes that

“Conversations (or just listening) while engaging in purposeful activities are socially more accessible for many. Collaborating shoulder to shoulder with new people is less daunting than attempting face-to-face introductions.”

 

 

Research from Relationships Australia shows us that when people connect with their communities, they have a greater sense of belonging, which leads to improved well-being and a reduction in loneliness. It also contributes to strength and resilience in the face of external pressures (such as the COVID pandemic and natural disasters).

Sonia recalls an endearing story from one of her projects. She mentions supervising a team of volunteers with varying levels of English proficiency, including international and local participants. Despite language barriers, they discovered a shared interest in not only planting trees that day but also playing the card game, Uno.

These shared activities transformed the group from individuals into a unified team, working together on a meaningful outdoor experience.

 

 

Why Share Belonging?

Belonging doesn’t happen alone – A group identity gives us a sense of identity, purpose, and validation. We can’t create a group on our own. We must invite others ‘in’.

Mental health and well-being – Creating and sharing belonging is an antidote to loneliness. Our research shows that the Neighbours Every Day campaign reduces loneliness and fosters mental health and well-being.

Stronger, more resilient communities – Diverse communities where people feel like they belong are more likely to work together to overcome obstacles and adapt to changes. They are more likely to have a range of skills and experiences that can help them respond to challenges and opportunities. They also feel comfortable calling on each other for help when needed.

 

 

The Connection Between Neighbouring and Volunteering

At Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), our commitment to nature and our communities is at the heart of everything we do. In this section, we explore how the connection between being a good neighbour and volunteering for nature nurtures respectful relationships and aligns seamlessly with CVA’s mission and offerings.

Inspirational: It’s an opportunity to inspire a stronger sense of community, and this sense of community is central to our mission.

Empowering: Recognising that every act, whether saying hello to a neighbour or planting a tree, contributes to the well-being of our communities empowers us all. It’s a reminder that the actions we take, both big and small, have a tangible impact, just as our conservation efforts create a lasting impact on nature.

Personal: Think about the last time you connected with a neighbour over a shared project or interest. Those moments of shared purpose are the building blocks of meaningful relationships, just as our volunteering opportunities bring people together for a common cause.

Inclusive: This connection doesn’t discriminate. It welcomes people from all walks of life, fostering unity in diversity, mirroring the inclusivity of our volunteering programs.

Optimistic: Let’s embrace the optimism that comes with knowing that by connecting with our neighbours and volunteering together, we’re making our communities more resilient and vibrant. Our volunteering opportunities offer tangible steps towards creating a positive impact on both nature and people, encapsulating the heart of CVA’s work.

Action-Oriented: To forge this connection, simply reach out to your neighbours, share your interests, and explore opportunities to volunteer together. Take the first step today, whether it’s by joining one of our on-ground conservation activities or embracing our app-based activities, such as Nature Blocks, which guide you through creating your very own patch of native biodiversity.

Fun: The journey of connecting with neighbours and volunteering in nature should be filled with joy and a sense of adventure, much like the enjoyable experiences we offer through our programs.

Educational: By engaging in this connection, we’re not just having fun; we’re also learning about our communities, nature, and the value of collaboration, mirroring the educational experiences we provide through our volunteering opportunities.

 

 

Build Back Nature!

Download the App or join an event near you

Now, as we explore the connection between neighbouring and volunteering, let’s discover how these intertwined threads strengthen our communities, create lasting impacts, and align perfectly with CVA’s commitment to the environment and the people who cherish it. To start your journey and build back nature, download the app here.

 

 

Neighbours Every Day 2024

The theme for Neighbours Every Day in 2024 is ‘Create Belonging | Share Belonging’ – a call to action for everyone in Australia (individuals, community groups, business and governments) to take every day actions that create social connection and foster respectful relationships. We look forward to our renewed collaboration with Relationships Australia and to the opportunities it creates to further enhance social connections throughout Australia.

Whether you volunteer at our events or explore local green spaces with friends and neighbours, remember that you are part of a community that values nature and the connections it nurtures.

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting journey of connection and conservation.

Together, we are positively impacting both the environment and the lives of those who cherish it. And, as Sonia beautifully puts it, we all aspire to be good people, do good for the planet, and have people in our lives who we can have fun with.

 

 

Quick facts about the Neighbours Every Day Campaign

  • Neighbours Every Day is Relationships Australia’s social connection campaign. It is the leading Australian campaign promoting the benefits of social connection and building capacity for all Australians to make and maintain respectful relationships.
  • Neighbour Day is a call-to-action for the Neighbours Every Day campaign. This year, the call-to-action day will take place on Easter Sunday 31 March 2024.
  • The theme for Neighbours Every Day in 2024 is ‘Create Belonging | Share Belonging’ – a call to action for everyone in Australia (individuals, community groups, business and governments) to take every day actions that create social connection and foster respectful relationships.
  • NED2024 will be asking everyone to consider how we can create respectful relationships with everyone in our community, and how we can share belonging in an inclusive and welcoming way.

 

Build Back Nature!

Download the App or join an event near you