Roger Phillips says volunteering with Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society has given him the opportunity to tackle a global problem at a local level. (Contributed photo)

Roger Phillips says volunteering with Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society has given him the opportunity to tackle a global problem at a local level. (Contributed photo)

Our People, Our Peninsula: ‘Think globally, act locally’

Roger Phillips has been with Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society since its formation

Volunteers are the backbone of a community. In the May 19 edition of the Peace Arch News, we published our second annual Our People, Our Peninsula section, in which we profiled 11 individuals whose volunteer efforts help shape White Rock-South Surrey into the strong and vibrant community we call home. Below is the profile of one such volunteer.

Roger has been volunteering with a variety of organizations, both during his working career and continuing subsequent to retiring. We believe these contributions support Roger as being a volunteer community contributor, “above and beyond!” writes Ron Meadley, president of Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society

In addition, volunteering with Roger for a number of years has been a positive experience based upon learning from his input/advice and for his continuing contributions.

Q: How long have you been a volunteer with Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society and why did you choose them specifically?

I made the transition from ‘Save Our Sunnyside’ to Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society following the successful attempt (by referendum in 1986) to preserve this unique area of second-growth forest. We chose to raise our family in South Surrey and having a significant forested area close by fitted our values of keeping the community ‘green.’ The most powerful way to preserve the forest in perpetuity was by convincing the City of Surrey by referendum to set it aside free of development pressures. I was proud that the referendum was passed by such a high number of votes and was determined to keep up my role as a ‘steward’ of the health of the forest.

Q: How has volunteering for Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society benefited you as a person?

Working to maintain the vision that the Sunnyside forest ecosystem should be allowed to develop with minimal management operations has been a ‘hands-on’ experience not possible to do with such global issues as the loss of forest cover and the debilitating results of climate change. To use the old adage: Think globally; act locally.

Q: Why is it important to you to volunteer your time?

When liaising with a City department like Parks, Recreation and Culture my voice is respected because I am a volunteer and as respectful of the professionals doing their job as they are of my perspectives of being a steward of the forest.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about becoming a volunteer for the first time?

A volunteer is part of a community working together on common values and contributes to a stronger voice when decisions have to be made. In Sunnyside’s case we speak on behalf of the trees. ‘Complacency’ is a silent enemy used as an excuse to do nothing because our taxes are paying the City to look after things. A team approach to problem solving stands up as the most effective model.

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