Volunteer Selection Project: Day 3 Mother of Millions Removal

Welcome to the update for Day 3 on the Volunteer Selection Project!

Post overview

  • Introduction
  • Day 3 overview & timing
  • What is Mother of Millions
  • Purpose of the activity
  • Method (God’s Way is testing to remove and dispose of Mother of Millions)
  • Presentation notes


Tris & Elo organise the water station


Mother of Millions activity location


Tris speaks with participants during the activity


Mother of Millions is an escaped ornamental plant species originally from Madagascar. It is classed as a noxious weed in Australia and has been known to have fatal consequences to livestock (particularly cattle) when ingested in large quantities: more information can be found under the heading “What is mother of Millions” later in this post.

The Mother of Millions weeding activity takes place on a private individual’s property. The property owners have spent hundreds of hours hand pulling the weed over the last 11 years. The owners choose to use the hand weeding method to avoid applying toxic chemicals to the earth or burning the area which would kill a large amount of intelligent life and destroy the already sparse ground cover.

Participants in the Volunteer Selection Project spend a few hours contributing to the removal of the weed. It is an excellent activity to assess participant’s attitudes in a number of areas, including but not limited to: how thorough they are; their feelings towards tasks that are physical; seem never ending and to some a “waste of time”; and how they interact with the natural environment (more can be found under the heading “Purpose of the activity” below).


Mother of Millions grid lines marking out the area to be weeded


Day 3 overview & timing

To give you an idea about how a day in the Volunteer Selection Project looks I have included the timing and activities below. On days we do not have presentations the time participants would work for is longer (we generally plan to do 4-5 hours solid work as this allows for attitudes and emotions to be exposed).

  • 5:45 am – 6:45 am Facilitator and volunteers set up for the day
  • 7:00 am – 7:15 am Feedback
  • 7: 15 am – 7:45 am Instructions for the day: principles, objectives (purpose) & benefits involved in the activity, safety briefing, demonstration of what to do and how to do it
  • 7:45 am – 10:30 am Activity: hand pulling an escaped ornamental weed originally from Madagascar called Mother of Millions
  • 10:30 am – 11:45 am Presentation by Jesus on what makes a great volunteer & the requirements for people volunteering for Divine Truth and God’s Way organisations, (drink & snack break simultaneously to this)
  • 11:45 am – 1:30 pm More weeding of Mother of Millions
  • 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Pack up/clean up
  • 2:00 pm End of day: participants go home
  • 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm Post activity: clean up (thank you to volunteers who did this yesterday), backing up the data collected for the day, writing up the actual day’s activity, making modifications to the activity outlines so they become more streamlined and perfected to use for the next project, reflect on the day and write up our feedback and observations for the day, make additions to the next activity outline (add in feedback, follow up actions, modifications).
  • 5:00 pm Facilitators day is complete

Little Mother of Millions plants


What is Mother of Millions?

Mother of millions (Bryophyllum species) is a native of Africa and Madagascar and was introduced to Australia as a garden plant. It is a prolific weed growing on the coast and the northwest slopes and plains of NSW.

The common name ‘mother of millions’ is based on the plant’s ability to reproduce vegetatively in large numbers. Each plant produces small plantlets along the edges of its leaves which detach and form new plants. This makes mother of millions hard to eradicate and follow up controls are necessary. Mother of millions also produces numerous seeds which can survive in the soil for a number of years before germinating. [Mother of millions reproduces from every part of itself, plantlets, leaves, stems, roots, seeds.]

Mother of millions is poisonous when ingested. The toxic effects of these plants are due mainly to bufadienolides which cause heart failure.

Source: http://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/Details/93

When the plant is ingested by livestock, cumulatively or in large quantities cattle become sick and die. This is one of the main reasons Australian land owners want the plant to be eradicated.

God’s Way is interested in investigating what the purpose of plants are and why they grow in certain areas and not others.

Volunteers in God’s way have a hypothesis that plants take certain elements and toxins from the soil and give specific elements and nutrients back to the soil. We observe that plants have cycles and tendencies to grow in particular soils and habitats. We would like to prove what particular plant species purposes are, including what they give to, and take from the soil.


Mother of Millions with plantlets and sprouts from seed below


Roots growing out of a Mother of Millions stalk


Mother of Millions sprouting from a piece of leaf that has fallen


Mother of Millions growing roots

Purpose of the activity

Participants in the Volunteer Selection Project are required to engage this activity to:

  • Remove an invasive species from the environment
  • Feel how connected they are to the environment (or not)
  • Learn about thoroughness
  • Learn about oneself and our impact on the environment, directly or indirectly
  • Feel how they feel doing a seemingly never ending task that doesn’t seem to be that important
  • See how they  respond to spending hours outdoors doing a repetitive task
  • Contribute to a God’s Way Ltd project on invasive species removal
  • See how efficient, thorough and enthusiastic participants are, and how they respond if they have to re-do the task when it is not completed properly
  • Assess their attitude to service (there is seeming no reward for the weeding)

Participants weeding in the grid lines



Participants weeding Mother of Millions


Remove mother of millions before or while they are flowering so that the seeds do not spread.

  1. Gently pull the plants from the soil ensuring that no part of the plant is left behind or breaks off
  2. Gently remove the soil from the roots of the plant (it defeats the purpose if topsoil is removed)
  3. Burn or bury the removed plants 6-8 feet below ground level in an isolated area
  4. Go over the project area at least twice removing plants to ensure they do not reproduce
  5. Cover with a thick layer of hardwood chip to suppress the growth of plants and create topsoil
  6. Seed with native Australian flora varieties over time



Participant’s weeding a patch of Mother of Millions


Pulling Mother of Millions plant up by its roots



Digging out a Mother of Millions plant

MM Image 8

Mother of millions plantlets


Using a skewer to loosen a Mother of Millions plant


Using a skewer to remove soil from the base of the plant


Buckets of Mother of Millions


Wheel barrow filled with Mother of Millions

Presentation notes

We would like to thank Jesus for the gift of his time and the presentation he gave to those involved in the Volunteer Selection Project.

Below are some notes from the presentation. Please be aware the notes are paraphrased by me (Eloisa) and only touch the surface of what Jesus spoke about to the participants.


Jesus spoke about four priorities and how living in harmony with these priorities makes for great volunteers. Volunteers in Divine Truth and God’s Way organisation are required to develop and bring their lives in harmony with the four priorities:

  1. Relationship with, and Love of God (giving and receiving Love)
  2. Relationship/Love of self (whole self, including soulmate)
  3. Relationship/Love of others
  4. Relationship/Love of the environment

Jesus described in detail how these priorities would positively influence our lives and be demonstrated if we lived by them. He described how bringing our life into harmony with these four priorities makes for great volunteers, easy management and a cohesive, cooperative team. In turn when a team is living and working in harmony with the 4 priorities, towards a common vision, is persistent and keeps taking action (plodding) in an ethical, moral, loving, truthful direction, the potential gifts and opportunities to others are great and good.

Jesus encouraged participants to accurately self assess their current attitudes, character, desires and passions and how in harmony, or out of harmony with the 4 priorities they are.

He raised that many of us have good ideas, do a lot of talking but do not take action on the ideas. When we have a great idea we need to stick to it and keep taking action no matter what comes our way.

Desire is a very powerful quality which each of us needs to bring into harmony with God’s Way if we want to live and accomplish the vision of Divine Truth and God’s Way Ltd and become volunteers for the organisations.

To find out more about God’s Way structure and vision please read the Constitution Link to God’s Way Constitution.


Jesus chats to participants while Lena organises the sound recording


Until next time, all the best,


***Thank you to Volunteer Selection Project participants, Eloisa and God’s Way volunteers for the photographs in this post


Participants organise for pack up at the end of the day


participants cleaning equipment at the end of the day


Participants return equipment to “base location”


Participants walking equipment back to “base location”


Cleaned equipment drying in the sun



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