There are so many unsung volunteer heroes in the environmental sector powerfully living their values, giving their time, and getting their hands dirty. It’s time to sing our praises to the unsung this month.

ENM has hundreds of volunteers on its books and every week we get enquires from people really wanting to do their bit. It’s a true testament to how much people do care, do want to do something and are eager to get involved. Mentioning everyone would take a special eight page spread in the Guardian, but we at ENM want to celebrate the contribution of the people for a few key initiatives and encourage others to be a part of the solution to local environmental challenges. Sing.

Food sovereignty. Hundreds of people, many of whom are associated with ENM’s Manawatū Food Action network collective contribute their time to community gardens, growing food and sharing it, community working bees, high level conversations about food resilience and teaching people to grow. They are simply playing their part in making sure we are all fed and are empowered to learn how to feed themselves. It’s incredible work.

Cleaning up our rivers and streets. Events linked to the Palmy Plastic Pollution Challenge attracted many volunteers this year, often whole families who were dedicated to help make our streams cleaner. It’s tactile, mucky, and rewarding work that gives people a real buzz.

Palmerston North Repair Café. Over 20 volunteers come together once a month to repair people’s broken items as part of this event, using their skills, time and smiles to reduce what goes to our landfill. 50 plus people every event also take the time to do this, contributing over the last year months to a reduction of 1333 kg of waste going to our landfill.

Our member groups. All 65 plus of them rely largely on the passion and commitment of key people through governance, advocacy, physical work, constructive cups of tea and a true belief in knowing what they do matters. We reckon this totals over 1000 people. Its incredible work.

Our board and anyone at all involved in governance. This strategic, dedicated unseen work gives backbone, integrity, structure, and support to what we all seek to achieve. In some ways, it’s the really hard stuff, looking after visions and directions, ensuring legal requirements are met, and making sure staff and volunteers are well supported.

Get involved, really, honestly, if you are on the fence, take action, and volunteer for our sector. Wonderful people, rewarding initiatives, and collectively we make a profound difference to the health of our soil, flora, fauna, and people. Go to to find out more.