In Taiwan and elsewhere, many people volunteer to serve the community. As society develops people’s expectations change along. Therefore volunteer work is always evolving as well.
In 1964, as one the country’s earliest formal volunteer initiatives, the Forestry Bureau set up a forest recreation team to help people get to know the forest better. The team drafted a ‘Forest tour guide plan and implementation principles to develop a volunteer guide system.’ The first forest tour guides were Forestry Bureau employees and idealistic volunteers.
To strengthen forest management, the Forestry Bureau’s education unit announced the ‘Forestry Bureau’s Implementation Principles for a National Forest Volunteer Service Plan’ In 1995. The goal was to recruit student and other volunteers to help preserve the forests and serve the common good.
These Implementation Principles consisted of seven parts: goals, a project work plan, recruitment methods and target groups, implementation steps, assessment methods, benefits and recognition. In response to the ‘Volunteer Service Act’ (2001), the Implementation Principles were replaced in 2002 by the ‘Forestry Bureau’s National Forest Volunteer Service Plan.’
This Plan covered 10 items: purpose, recruiting targets, task forces and organizational linkages, education and training, service projects, implementation methods, management practices, benefits, rewards and a budget. Thirteen projects were listed: environmental education, educational tours, medical services, reforestation, landscaping, surveillance patrols, maintenance of facilities, research, art publishing, safety and maintenance, fire prevention education, volunteer administration and others, to achieve the seven objectives of forest protection, forestry administration, conservation, forest recreation, watershed management, resource surveys and others.
The nation’s forest volunteers help preserve forests, engage in sustainable forestry, give recreational and educational forest tours, and promote nature conservation, with excellent results. They make great contributions to forest management and they are an excellent channel to make people engage with and care about our forests.
However, we all became aware of climate change, and people’s attitudes about volunteer work were evolving as well. Thus, the ‘Forestry Bureau’s National Forest Volunteer Service Plan’ from 2002 was no longer adequate. Therefore, in May 2009, the Forestry Bureau adopted the ‘Plan to Amend and Revitalize the National Forest Volunteer Service Project.’
Under this Plan, the Forestry Bureau began building a nationwide support system for volunteer work as well implementation methods. The Plan also strengthens the promotion of forest volunteer work to expand participation in forest volunteer work, in order to revitalize the country’s forest volunteer work and make it more complete.
By September 2011, a comprehensive nationwide forest service system was completed, as the ‘Forestry Bureau’s Overall Plan for Nationwide Forest Volunteer Services’ had been revised in 2010, local ‘Plans for Nationwide Forest Volunteer Services’ for every forestry management area had been made, and a ‘National Action Plan for Managing Volunteer Forest Tour Guides and Promoters’ had been created as well.