Madan Gautam is a long way from his home in Nepal, however he seems to have found his niche within Hornsby Shire.

After studying science and environmental studies in Nepal, the UK and New Zealand, he has been putting his conservation knowledge to good use each month by volunteering for Hornsby Council.

For three days every month Madan joins a team of scientists and helps collect water samples from the Hawkesbury River.

Madan says these samples are then used to assess pollution levels throughout Hornsby Shire.

While collecting water involves a slightly different pace to working with tigers in Nepal, one of Madan’s previous occupations, he takes his work with the Council seriously.

Madan says of his decision to volunteer for Hornsby Council: “My intention was to help by contributing my academic and scientific knowledge.”

However he put a lot of thought into choosing where he would volunteer his skills. As a Wahroonga resident he said he considered working with a number of local councils, but chose Hornsby because of its abundance of green land and long-term environmental programs.

“Hornsby Council is one of the greenest councils in NSW, it has a bigger percentage of green land than any other council in NSW,” says Madan.

Moreover, Madan was impressed by Hornsby Council’s “vision” in terms of implementing environmental programs.

According to Madan the twelve-hour volunteer days are long, but he enjoys the process, knowing that his work will benefit the council. Volunteering is something he will continue to do while he studies Project Management at the University of Sydney.

He plans to add this to his long list of degrees, which includes a PHD from the University of Lincoln and a Masters from the University of Wales.

Hornsby Council appreciates the work of volunteers like Madan.

“The volunteers who offer their time greatly increase our ability to monitor and protect the natural heritage we have been blessed with in this part of the world,” says Hornsby Council environmental scientist Kristy Guise.