About Us

Joe Benshemesh and volunteers at the Training Weekend, 2002
Photo courtesy Ann Stokie

The VMRG is a group of interested volunteers working under the supervision of Dr Joe Benshemesh. Volunteers undergo training in data collection and bush safety and then spend time in the field collecting data from nest sites within a defined grid in the Victorian Mallee Country.

Volunteers usually work in pairs. Husband and wife teams are common, but certainly not exclusively so.

The VMRG takes pride in the work that it does. It provides substantial training and is very conscious of the need to ensure the safety of volunteers in the field.

There is a small annual subscription, currently set at $20 per individual or $30 per household.

The VMRG provides all the necessary equipment and has, in recent years, been able to provide some expense money.


Past President Neil Macfarlane makes a point to Peter Stokie while
Mary Erwin looks on at the Reporting Meeting Weekend, 2003.

A training weekend is held early in October at Wyperfield National Park. Typically, training takes place on the Saturday afternoon and the Sunday morning, to allow time for travelling. An evening 'around the camp fire' takes place on the Saturday in the camp ground at Wyperfield N.P.

Training includes:

  • data measurement and collection;
  • bush navigation and safety; and,
  • familiarisation with technology - palm computers, GPS navigators and safety equipment.

Data collection takes place at a time to suit the volunteer, provided it is done during the 3 month period starting November 1. The time to collect the data will vary from 2 to 4 days, plus travelling time.

Volunteers are required to provide their own transport and accommodation. Some grids are accessible by conventional vehicle, the rest require 4WD.

For more information on volunteeing, please see our Volunteering page.