By Jessica Aquilina
Husband and wife volunteer duo Les and Gloria Brown have more than 90-years’ worth of voluntarily experience between them.
Les began voluntarily after Hills Shire Council put out a call, asking for volunteer rangers to look after Eric Mobbs Reserve over 50 years ago. The couple moved to Castle Hill in 1967 as newlyweds and built their homes nearby.
Les has held various positions on the Eric Mobbs Reserve 355 Committee, including Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
He is now actively involved with Birds Australia, monitoring the endangered Powerful Owl colony that lives within the Castle Hill Reserve.
Gloria, who used to own a nursery business, signed up for Bushcare and was also a member of the Eric Mobbs Reserve 355 Committee.
The couple worked hard to raise funds for the Reserve, including raising enough to build a children’s playground with swings, seating, irrigation, concrete pathways and barbecue facilities.
Gloria said “volunteering was so rewarding”. While she has contributed so much to her local community, her proudest achievement as a volunteer was planting thousands of trees at Eric Mobbs Reserve, which now provide shade and also shelter for native wildlife.
“There is a concrete pathway where we planted an avenue of eucalypts. They were seedlings when we planted them and now years later they have grown up and formed a beautiful archway over the pathway,” she said.
For Les, he found volunteering as a way of meeting new people and making life-long friends.
“You don’t volunteer for rewards or the desire for recognition. It’s the people you meet that make you want to continue to do. It’s just so rewarding,” Les added.
Les and Gloria also held a Clean Up Australia Day event at Eric Hobbs Reserve.
While the couple continues to actively volunteer with Council, they also enjoy walking their dog, “Georgie Girl”, and Les continues to “keep an eye” on the Reserve, making sure it remains a much-loved place for generations to come.
“We are truly blessed to have this Reserve and these magnificent birds in our area, and Les enjoys sharing his knowledge and photos with others,” Gloria added.