We’d love you to meet Matt Farrell; one of our amazing core Bio·R volunteers who has kindly put his hand up to be the subject of our latest article as part of our ongoing Volunteer Profile series. Most often we see Matt at our planting festivals, where he enthusiastically runs volunteer groups, brings his practical and kind wisdom to running our events and lends his acute awareness of community to our overall efforts.
Having grown up in the beautiful northern beaches of Sydney, Matt has always had a keen interest in science and nature. “I got fed up with working indoors and took a TAFE Cert 3 in Conservation and Land Management [which is where] I developed my passion for nature. The more I knew, the more I wanted to learn. The more I understood the threat [our environment] under, the more I wanted to protect it.”
Matt first got involved with Bio·R in 2017 while studying a degree in Wildlife Conservation Biology at the University of Adelaide. “I got involved because it was an opportunity to actually make a difference to restoring biodiversity and protecting species from extinction.”
But it’s not only Bio·R’s effective restoration methods that keep Matt coming back. It’s the community of volunteers sharing similar values which makes his involvement even more enjoyable. “The science-based approach, the scale and the vision of the projects give me hope for the future. It’s also great to hang out with a wonderful bunch of people as passionate about the environment as I am.”
When he’s not spending time out at Frahns Farm, Matt is either studying or working from home. “I am currently researching a PhD on habitat use of mature revegetation projects for birds to evaluate their success and the elements contributing to that. In my downtime, I run a local advocacy group protesting new housing development and advocating for environmental restoration as the greater need.” This highly visible project has a lot of momentum and is a testament to Matt’s love of nature and understanding of the importance of community.
Matt’s has extensive experience in a range of industries and roles, all prior to getting involved in the environmental studies. “I travelled the world working as a casino dealer on cruise ships when I was in my 20’s. I owned a laundromat with a recording studio out the back for 10 years.” Perhaps it’s some of these experiences that come through when speaking with Matt, as it’s obvious he practices from a place of wisdom and worldliness.
When asked what he would like to see Bio·R to become in the future, Matt answered “I would like to see Bio·R become a leader in the ecosystem restoration industry and that its techniques for creating habitat at scale become adopted as the standard.”
For Bio·R to succeed in its vision for a biodiverse future, there might be the occasional bump along the way. But as Matt says: “While you might miss some of the shots you take, you miss all the shots you don’t take”.
It’s our pleasure and privilege to have Matt form a key part of our restoration efforts, so if you see him around at future events, please say hi.
Thanks Matt, we appreciate you a lot!
Author: Tristan Avella-O’Brien