David Saxton - Ranger

 David has been a Ranger with Parklands since 2009.

Why you are involved with Parklands?

I started with Parklands as a volunteer and really enjoyed it. With my farming background I fitted in well and I guess I had too much to say  - they had to give me a job!

What do you bring to Parklands?

Firstly would be people skills; I've been an SES controller and CFA captain, so I've learned how to work with volunteers and manage teams. I love a good talk, get on well with people and can empathise on a wide range of experiences. I've become the farmer/ Parklands liaison because I can really see both points of view.

I enjoy teaching and that goes well with the social enterprise aspect of what we do here - seeing people learn and grow, get involved with environmental restoration and heritage. I love the environmental outcomes of our work.

Imparting knowledge is something I can do, and its needed here; I have mechanical skills, 4WD driving skills, all sorts of farming related skills. OH&S planning and prevention is really important in the type of work we do, and I can help with all that. I've done a lot of formal training too; chemical use, tree falling, welding certificates - its all used.

What is your most memorable experience with Parklands?

It would have to be the 'project within a project' I did as the Restoration Supervisor restoring the Bonegilla Migrant Centre. I spent a good 12 months working 40-50 hours a week alongside volunteers; Work for the Dole people, school groups, community volunteers and our regular Parklands volunteers - they were gems. It was such a good experience for the volunteers; learning that history. Lots of the younger ones were amazed to find out they had a family connection to the place. It was a really good experience for combating racism.

We started by breaking the 80 padlocks on all those old buildings, and by the time we finished we had used 600 litres of paint and put up 3km of guttering! We did everything; pulling up and replacing floors, fitting doors and windows, filling holes, pulling off netting around all the buildings; everything.

The Opening of the Bonegilla Migrant Expereince was a real highlight. The army recreated the unform of the time - and some of them fainted from the heat! It was a real commemoration to everything that happened there, as well as a celebration. After it opened they had about 100 visitors a month and now its over a thousand every month.