Don Stays Active in Retirement with Bushcare Volunteering
Don Wilson is an octogenarian with a lot of energy. You would have to be to start a national day of action at his age.
During his stellar career in sales, Don learnt that persuasion and persistence are important characteristics that can really sell ideas. One of the ideas that Don has turned his attention to in retirement is bushcare volunteering.
Don had a transformative experience when he went to Lord Howe Island on a voluntary weeding trip. He was amazed that Asparagus Fern had become so dominant on the island after being introduced in a bridal bouquet 100 years earlier. But he was also amazed at how volunteers could make an impact on the problem and he returned to Sydney ready to inspire others.
Don turned his attention to the Knoll, a lovely rocky outcrop of bushland overlooking Middle Harbour which was also overrun with Asparagus Fern. Today this beautiful place is testament to his persistence and persuasion. He has spent hours (and days) of his retirement volunteering at the site. The Bushcare group that he started to tackle the problem is one of Willoughby City Council’s strongest.
Don also had the idea to start a Flying Squad of Bushcarers who would travel en masse from one site to another to lend extra hands to the task of weeding.
Then he hit on a bigger idea. Why not ask all of Australia to help? So Don did ask. He created Bushcare’s Major Day Out in 2010 with the help of Willoughby City Council, Landcare and a committee of volunteers. The event has quickly grown from 12 sites in 2010 to 247 sites in 2015.
Don believes bushcare is great for all ages. It’s a great retirement volunteering opportunity for people who would like to stay active and get outdoors.
Don is a charmer. With his infectious enthusiasm, he inspires others to value and nurture our remaining bushland. His idea has legs because he knows that a situation is solvable when you have enough motivated people persisting and striving for change.
Don has been interviewed many times on radio and is a bit of a hit with Macca on ABC on Sunday mornings. He has received awards and been acknowledged many times now, but he acknowledges that the greatest reward is seeing volunteers turn up for Bushcare’s Major Day Out each year.
Don Wilson is available for interviews and photos on 0417 285 871.
Bushcare’s Major Day Out – Sunday 11 September 2016