Conference ProgramWetlands Action for People and Nature

A program committed to increasing our knowledge, awareness, understanding and commitment to the conservation, interpretation and management of Wetlands


The overarching theme of our conference follows the Ramsar theme for 2022 of ‘Wetlands Action for People & Nature’. The 2-day conference is divided into 4 half-days, each of which is set to feature the following themes - Leadership, Reconciliation, Sustainability and Partnerships.


Day 1 | Morning
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022


Day 1 | Afternoon
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022


Day 2 | Morning
Thursday, 3rd February 2022


Day 2 | Afternoon
Thursday, 3rd February 2022


Day 1 | Morning | Wednesday, 2nd February 2022

To increase the knowledge, awareness, understanding, participation, engagement, and commitment to the conservation of wetlands.


A Jewel in the Crown of Global Biodiversity

South-western Australia is a global biodiversity hotspot, where the greatest plant species diversity is found on the most severely nutrient-impoverished soils. Three National Parks and Greater Perth harbour the greatest plant species diversity in south-western Australia. Within Greater Perth, the Greater Brixton Street Wetlands are notorious for their enormous plant species richness, and home to numerous plant species that have special conservation value as well as several threatened ecological communities. If we do not mitigate climate change and continue to develop Perth based on out-of-date principles that ignore the sensitive hydrology of our region, many threatened species and ecological communities will be pushed towards extinction. We have a choice, and can prevent at least some of this, but we have to act, and act now. To underpin our actions, we need to understand why some of the species in this regions are rare and why they grow there. I will showcase a study of a Declared Rare Flora species and explain why it is rare and why it only grows there. This provides a clear example of the vulnerability of the Greater Brixton Street Wetlands and what is required to proserve this unique system.

Expert Presentations

Habitat Rehabilitation and Saltmarsh Mosquito Management in Adenia Saltmarsh TEC

Systematic biomonitoring and rehabilitation case studies at Adenia Saltmarsh have been conducted by SERCUL with stakeholders including Curtin University and North Metro TAFE students through different grants since 2016. These projects involved learning about saltmarsh ecology, rehabilitation techniques and ecological approaches for saltmarsh mosquito management and to educate the local community about the importance of saltmarshes as blue carbon sinks.

The project site is a temperate saltmarsh located in the Canning River Regional Park, with estuarine saltmarsh habitats recognised nationally as a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) since 2013 and ranked as vulnerable. The saltmarsh vegetation complex is also listed as a priority III ecological community in Western Australia.

The research established baseline ecological data for the Adenia Saltmarsh TEC. The case studies provided opportunities for NRM officers, community volunteers, and University, TAFE and school students to participate in monitoring, rehabilitation activities and learn about saltmarsh ecology, restoration and conservation.

No Roe’d through the Wetlands - Long term community leadership leading to a succesful conservation outcome.

2021 saw a major milestone in the ongoing battle to protect and conserve the wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain with the passing of the Beeliar Bill in WA’s State Parliament. This saw the Roe 8 Road Reserve removed from the Metropolitan Region Scheme.  A result that was over 30 years in the making.

It is time to dispel the idea that saving and protecting our precious natural areas is primarily achieved by lying in front of bulldozers.

While non violent direct action (the tech term for lying in front of bulldozers) can have a place in the process, it is the thousands of hours of work that takes place prior to any action that will make or break a campaign.  The campaign that stopped the construction of Roe 8 is a case in point.

There were several decades of submission making and “discussions” with Main Roads WA during which they would tell us how wonderful the road would be and we would say “But you are not building it”.  Riveting stuff. Oh and the community stalls… Hundreds of community stalls.
We wrangled a review of the entire freight network through the Southern suburbs which led to the 6 point plan for improving Freight movements and then we went on to make a valiant attempt to divert Roe 7 south so Roe 8 would run along the rail freight reserve.  At every turn the campaign focussed on alternatives and better outcomes for freight and communities.
Environmental campaigning is far more nuanced than we make it seem.  As the campaign progressed we made use of the disciplines of neuromarketing, the psychology of the power of a good kind of peer group pressure and engagement of peoples values and beliefs.  We did a makeover of the public perception of activists by demonstrating the wide range of professionals and regular citizens who were prepared to step up to the plate to protect the wetlands.
With no stone unturned several legal actions were also pursued and played a significant part in the campaign while political negotiations were ongoing with campaigners running for State Parliament to highlight the issue.

And when in an act of sheer spite the bulldozers came in, the community came out.  Here also is where the immeasurable benefits of having the Cockburn Wetlands Centre became so obvious.  There was a ready made population of people, especially young people who knew their wetlands were important and were strongly connected to them.  Once you’ve dip netted by the old board walk you are wetlander for life.

Then overnight out from the dust kicked up from bulldozers came the first step to a victory with a change of Government and the announcement to stop the construction of Roe 8.
And then we did the unthinkable.

We sat down in a room with the Government and Main Roads and worked together to restore what had been damaged.  But that’s another story…

Deep Spectacle, Surface Collapse: Imagining Design and Conservation in the Proposed Yule Brook Regional Park

Beneath Noongar Boodjar are deep waters, surfacing as tapestries of wetlands and streams throughout the Perth landscape. These deep waters form aquifers with intricate fluctuations and flows, sustaining much of the phenomenal biodiversity on the surface of Perth. As a 'Hotspot City', these ecological values and the waters that sustain them are in conflict with human impacts. In particular, urban and industrial development.  

It is vital that ecological frameworks become embedded within planning frameworks, to prioritise the health and safety of the land of which we are all a part. Collaborative environmental planning and landscape strategies are critical, providing canvases and conversations in a just transition from a biodiversity conflict to a place of care. ‘Deep’ and ‘surface’ mappings of urban hydrology and biodiversity allow us to ‘see’ our biodiversity, and imagine alternate frameworks for development. In these maps, we find opportunities for design and urgent spaces for conservation.  

From here, we arrive at the claypans of Perth, along Mandoorn (Yule Brook) on the eastern margin of the coastal plain. The Yule Brook corridor is a hotspot within a hotspot, comprising more than 700 hectares of land connecting the Dyarlgarro (Canning River) with Jerban (Lesmurdie Falls) in Perth’s hills. Here are some of the highest rates of biodiversity in the world within at least forty ecotypes. Yule Brook is an important corridor for the future of Perth, and negotiations to create a Regional Park are ongoing. Unless appropriate buffers and landscape opportunities are realised, collapse is likely. This discussion considers Yule Brook as a space for agency in which to bring together design, restoration and conservation.

Case Studies

Reimagining Perth's Lost Wetlands

This presentation provides an overview and links to a series of four videos that visually track the changes in our wetlands since European settlement, and relate these to the attitudes and knowledge of the time. This resource, created by Tracy de Vetter as part of her NatureLink Perth Internship, was launched at the 2021 WA Wetlands Management Conference and was made possible, in part, by the generosity and knowledge of attendees. We now wish to share this resource with everyone in the hope that this engaging narrative might be used to illustrate the shifting baseline of wetland extent and quality, providing impetus for improved future management of our remaining wetlands.

When international importance isn’t important enough: a case study in the power of community in protecting a Ramsar wetland.

The 26,530 ha Peel-Yalgorup System near Mandurah Western Australia is one of the largest and most diverse Ramsar-listed wetland systems in Australia, incorporating the Peel Inlet and the Harvey Estuary (the Peel-Harvey Estuary), the hypersaline Yalgorup Lakes and the freshwater lakes McLarty and Mealup. The wetland system meets at least seven of the nine criteria for listing according to the Ramsar Convention as a ‘wetland of international importance’ and was recognised as Ramsar Site 482 in 1991. These values are threatened by the rapidly growing urban population of Mandurah and inappropriate land-use practices. Without action these threats will continue unabated, potentially compromising the site’s Ramsar listing. Here we present a case study of action taken by the community to prevent a major threat to the values of Ramsar 482. The Point Grey peninsula sits at the intersection of the Peel Inlet and the Harvey Estuary opposite to the Dawesville Channel. Urban development of the peninsula was first proposed in 1988, prior to the listing of the wetlands as Ramsar 482. At that time the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that the development should not proceed due mostly to the ecological value and fragility of the estuarine ecosystem. Fast-forward to 2011, when a development of 275 ha of the site was proposed, involving the construction of a 330-berth on-shore marina, a 2.5 km long navigation channel connecting the marina to the estuary and the Dawesville Channel and a residential community with more than 3000 home sites. After assessment by the EPA, the Point Grey Marina Development was approved by the WA Minister for the Environment. Due to the environmental significance of Ramsar 482, a number of organisations, including the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) and the wider community raised concerns about the potential impact of the development proposed Point Grey Development, in particular on the Peel-Harvey Estuary. Of greatest concern were the impacts on the aquatic environment of dredging operations to construct the navigation channel, the disposal of dredge spoil from the dredging works, the likely accumulation of monosulfidic black ooze in the navigation channel and marina and the subsequent maintenance dredging and spoil disposal operations. The loss of native vegetation and habitat through excavation and dredging to construct the on-shore marina was also concerning. Because of the Ramsar listing of the estuary and the Australian Government’s obligations to protect the site under the EPBC Act, the development was referred to the Australian Government for assessment. Despite community concerns including expert opinion of the unacceptable risks the development posed to the Peel-Harvey estuary, in 2014 the Australian Government granted Ministerial Approval for the development valid until 2052, albeit conditional. This case study describes the ongoing struggle by a concerned community in resisting the Point Grey Marina development to protect the ecological values of the Ramsar 482 site. It demonstrates how Ramsar listing by itself does not provide sufficient protection for wetlands of international importance without an engaged and well-informed community using scientific evidence to underpin its arguments to influence decision makers. 



Day 1 | Afternoon | Wednesday, 2nd February 2022

To initiate, support and sustain a proactive partnership with traditional custodians for the conservation of wetlands. This includes increasing participation, support and engagement recognising the importance of traditional knowledge and expertise.


The Cultural Importance of the Wetlands and Waterways of the Djalgarro Beeliar Catchment

The Djarlgarro Beeliar (Canning River) is one of the main natural arteries that sustain Perth’s southern landscapes. From the confluence with the Derbarl Yerrigan to its headwaters in the hills, the Djarlgarro Beeliar is fed by several creeks, including the Yule and Bickley Brooks to the north, and Neerigen Brook, Wungong and Southern Rivers to the south. The river, its tributaries, the many wetlands and swamps – and the invisible, yet sustaining groundwater – are a fundamental part of the local environment and hold enormous cultural value.

Noongar knowledge and perspectives of the waterways have been gathered over the decades, often in the context of land development and associated heritage surveys. However, this information is scattered across multiple organizations and not easily accessible, including to the Noongar community itself.

In this presentation, we share the journey of an ongoing collaborative, interdisciplinary, Noongar co-led project that has gathered archival information about the Noongar values associated with the wetlands and waterways of the Djalgarro Beeliar catchment, and has invited the Noongar community to interpret, discuss and map the information gathered.

We share key reflections on the importance of working together and alongside Traditional Owners and the broader Noongar community in the planning, management and interpretation of wetlands and waterways. These ecosystems hold great cultural and heritage value, and they are crucial from an ecological and climate change adaptation perspective. As such, they should be prioritized for best practice in urban planning and water sensitive urban design, but also, importantly, for Reconciliation and social healing through placemaking and shared stewardship.

Expert Presentations

Connecting to Our Rivers: Protocols and processes for respectful catchment research

The impact of settler colonial land use and planning on inland waters is severe and ongoing. Urban waters in particular were degraded due to European associations of Australian wetlands with disease and pestilence. Aboriginal law and tradition survived the colonial encounter and is a very different system of land management and approaches to inland waters. However, First Law (that the law is in the land and not in humans) continues to be unrecognisable to European-Australian systems of land management and research. While this is the case, co-existence and co-management of Perth’s precious waters is not possible, and the risks to Traditional Owners of sharing Indigenous Knowledge is substantial.  

Here we present our attempts to address this imbalance within a multidisciplinary research project for a creek catchment of Derbarl Yerrigan, the Swan River. Wombanagan Blackadder Creek is a modified natural creek in the City of Swan and Town of Mundaring, 16 kilometres north-east of Perth. Drawing from Indigenous Research Methods and contemporary approaches to Indigenous ecological knowledge (IEK) and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP), we seek to answer the question: how to do research into water and land management that respects the sovereignty and rights of Nyungar owners of IEK and historical knowledge, supports their relationship with Country, and brings other people respectfully into these relationships? These are essential questions if Perth is to achieve a shared vision and just and effective co-management of its most precious heritage: its waterways.

Nyungar Know-how

You are invited to join with the Wetlands Education Centre’s Elder in Residence Marie Taylor in exploring the deep connection between Nyungar people and the landscape. Through awareness and understanding there is greater opportunity for better appreciation of Nyungar language and customs and the cultural significance of the Beelier Wetlands.

New ways of listening in the Wetland: Podcasts, perspectives and practitioners

In 2022, podcasts are a popular way of producing and sharing stories, information and values internationally. However, their cultural context is shaping new ways of listening. Latitude Creative Services Principal Gina Pickering describes changes and opportunities in the way we hear, appreciate and are impacted by the spirit and resilience of Whadjuk Nyungar culture.

New research is strengthening understanding around connection to place and the relationship between people, flora and fauna, the seasons and waterways. The Nyoongar people of the southwest have continued to practice a ‘relational’ way of life for millennia and now it’s reaching the ears and hearts of those new to Nyungar cultural ways.

Case Studies

Places of Belonging: A Wetlands Story.

This paper discusses success in the space of reclaiming Country through a project to do with water and the development of wetlands from where once there was an old colonial farm. This place is teaming with life, Pelicans, water birds, and even Platypus. Now big trees are even attracting Cockatoos. The paper shares the story of its significant place within the local Indigenous community and a whole of community approach. I feel this narrative of the Wonga Wetlands is special not only for my Wiradjuri Country, but it also shares a story that inspires all lovers of wetlands and wetland species. It has lessons and inspirations that can celebrate familiar projects in Western Australia, too.



Day 2 | Morning | Thursday, 3rd February 2022

To develop and deliver standards, processes, projects, and/or programs that are environmentally, socially and economically justified.


Re-enlivening wetlands: infusing through the sciences, the arts, and activism

This paper is framed by the concept of wetlands as living systems. We start with a consideration of how wetlands conform to three principles of life and lifeforms: the ability to evolve, to be bounded physical entities but intimate with their environments, and to operate as purposeful wholes. Side-by-side, in the second perspective, we will use historical, ethnographic and generational storying of the Beeliar wetlands, how they have been used, where foods are, the stomping ground of ceremony, a spirit, to consider wetlands as long time places. A third perspective sees wetlands as agentic and lively, and how we come to make the shift from walking to wetlands, to walking with wetlands. We consider the adjustments necessary to shift thinking beyond the cognitive and the abstract, to the affective, multisensory, embodied and emergent, and how we see ourselves as part of wetlands, and wetlands as part of us. Our presentations will be followed by an interaction between the three speakers where they will respond to each other around the contexts of activism and action - what it might take to re-enliven wetlands, at which point we will be joined by audience comments and questions. Our aim is to leave with a gratitude (for regeneration), a respect (for spirit), and a re-iteration (to remember), of what it is to be wetland.

Expert Presentations

New methods for creating drought refuges for imperilled freshwater species in southwestern Australia

Southwestern Australia’s drying climate threatens the survival of native freshwater species through loss of permanently flowing rivers and perennial wetlands. Climatic drying since the turn of the millennium has caused many formerly perennial streams and lakes to begin to dry out each year, caused by a combination of declining groundwater levels and low rainfall. Solutions are few, as new water cannot be created to replace lost rainfall, yet substantial species losses have already occurred in response to drying. Recent research shows substantial losses of diversity in wheatbelt lakes inside nature reserves and streams in water catchments in the Perth Hills, and negative effects of drying on frog populations. A new solution is to manage remaining permanent freshwaters as biodiversity refuges, wherever the water is located in the landscape, including natural and artificial waterbodies on both private and public land. These permanent waterbodies can act as drought refuges - places where native species can persist during dry periods and from which they can spread out to repopulate the landscape during wetter times. Current research shows that artificial waterbodies such as farm dams can support significant native diversity, but management is required to transform them into drought refuges. Communities and natural resource management agencies are keen to manage these drought refuges, but there are no appropriate methods or guidelines available to support their management (especially for artificial waterbodies). Our new project, funded by a State NRM Community Collaboration Grant, aims to identify refuges, understand their biodiversity and ecological function and develop new management methods applicable to both natural and artificial waterbodies. This includes field trials of some new potential methods for increasing their capacity to support biodiversity. The project focuses in 2 regions: the Perth Hills (supported by Perth NRM) and the Harvey region (supported by the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce and Peel-Harvey CC). We are seeking additional perennially-inundated sampling sites (natural and artificial) and citizen scientists to volunteer to collect waterbird and frog data for the project. 

Environmental DNA in freshwater ecology: characteristics and prospects of an emerging biomonitoring tool

• Introduction: definition of eDNA, characteristics
• Analytical background – TrEnD Lab at Curtin
• Examples of studies in water ecology
• eDNA in wetland biomonitoring
• Connecting “who is there?” (via eDNA) with “what are they doing?” (via stable isotopes analysis)
• The eDGES programme and conclusions

Establishing eDNA as a monitoring tool and determining a best practice protocols - Fish Assemblages in the Canning River

Freshwater ecosystems are highly dynamic systems that host a wide variety of biodiversity and offer essential services. Unfortunately, these systems are increasingly subject to threats such as altered hydrology and water quality, climate change and invasive species. Western Australian freshwater systems are not exempt from this global trend, and many need management to enhance and preserve their biodiversity values. To make management decisions, robust, efficient monitoring efforts are required to understand the current state and trends within the system and what management actions are required. Traditionally, animal biodiversity is monitored by physically capturing and identifying the target species, but over the last decade, environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring has emerged as a complementary method to traditional methods. This study contrasted eDNA and traditional fyke netting for sampling aquatic vertebrates in the highly modified Canning River in Perth. Additionally, as an alternative to the more labour-intensive active filtration method, we investigated if passive eDNA sampling could be used successfully in a freshwater system, as previously published studies were in marine environments. The implications of this research are the development of an eDNA monitoring protocol that will complement traditional monitoring methods, leading to the potential for greater stewardship of the Canning River. Freshwater ecosystems are highly dynamic systems that host a wide variety of biodiversity and offer.

Wetland Buffers - A controversial subject

Establishing wetland buffers is one component of an integrated approach to wetland protection and management in WA. Wetland buffers are essential to wetland conservation, providing for the long-term protection, maintenance and enhancement of important features that support wetland values. Buffering involves separating a wetland from the adjacent land uses that might threaten its desired values such as habitat for waterbirds or other wildlife that call wetlands home. Buffers also ensure wetland activities do not impact unduly on important land uses, through either spatial separation or through the use of physical barriers.
A large body of research is available that establishes evidence of the importance of wetland buffers to protect wetland habitat and other critical components of wetlands, some of which is summarised in this presentation.

Case Studies

Studying and managing wetlands from the sky

Traditional methods of detecting species and communities inhabiting wetlands as well as their changes over time are typically highly time-consuming, easily affected by observer bias, and could pose health and safety risks for researchers. There is a pressing need for novel, safer, more efficient and accurate survey techniques to overcome these challenges. In recent times, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or ‘drones’ have revolutionized the way ecosystems, including wetlands and other aquatic habitats, are studied, managed, restored and conserved. With various associated sensors, ground-breaking advances have been made in surveying wetland systems that are too vast to study from land, or have limited field access, are inhabited by aquatic species that may pose a safety risk (e.g. crocodiles), or are too cryptic to monitor via conventional methods. Here we highlight recent work undertaken by our team members and discuss how drones may help reduce or replace logistically demanding field surveys in wetland environments in the future.

Long-term wetland vegetation monitoring in the South-west

Monitoring the vegetation condition of groundwater-dependent wetlands across the SW forms part of a long-term program run by Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). The aim of the monitoring is to ensure current and/or proposed groundwater use does not negatively impact representative ecosystems. Outcomes inform the review of Water Allocation Plans and license assessments for the Gnangara, Jandakot and South-West groundwater area plans. Sites across the Swan Coastal Plain, Scott Coastal Plain and Blackwood Plateau monitored either in-house or by contractors on an annual or triennial basis since 1996. The monitoring represents a substantial investment of money and time by DWER. This type of long-term intensive monitoring of vegetation condition is quite unusual and the Gnangara monitoring dataset represents one of the most extensive on a global scale. This presentation will discuss the monitoring approach and outline the methodologies we use.

Narrative Sustainability and Transformation: Storying Lake Monger’s Contested Ecological past and Uncertain Ecological Futurity

Transformed wetland spaces such as the suburban site of Lake Monger (situated in the Town of Cambridge and bordering City of Vincent, Perth, WA) challenge narratives of sustainability because their histories of urban development and human intervention undermine or defy conceptions of nature, and “natural states,” as distinct from people and culture. The site’s history of cultural significance and human intervention complicates the question of sustainability, centering it at a point of tension between conflicting narratives, agendas and cultural trends. For sustainability efforts to succeed for sites which, like Lake Monger, are “natural” environments thoroughly enmeshed in and transformed by a social broader social environment, it becomes necessary to ask questions about the site’s narrative sustainability. That is to say: what practices do we use to tell stories about these sites? What sort of possible futures do these stories suggest or preclude? Which of these entailed narratives of futurity align with sustainability goals? For a site to be sustainable, we must first be able to imagine, collectively, that site’s continued sustainment; such acts of collective imagination are played out in narrative space. This presentation is part of a broader research project that explores place-based creative writing practices and narratives of futurity in suburban ecological spaces. Here, theoretical frameworks derived from of narratology—the study of narrative structure—and literary theory are applied to scientific and historical literature describing Lake Monger and wetland areas of the Swan Coastal Plain at large. The aim of this analysis is to clarify the narrative component of “sustainability” in places that are fundamentally tied up with human communities and stories. Narratology and literature comparison are used to differentiate and navigate the conflicting conceptualisations of spaces that are described, and potentially overdetermined, by diverse sets of human agendas and narratives. Understanding sustainability and transformation as enacted in narrative space can contribute to the formulation of sustainability practices that are sensitive to the forces of cultural memory, and—it is hoped—produce narratives of futurity that are able to realise both continuity and resilience in threatened wetland spaces. 



Day 2 | Afternoon | Thursday, 3rd February 2022

To initiate and sustain the widest possible proactive participation, support and engagement for the conservation of wetlands.


Partnerships – Supporting People to Work Together For Positive Ecological Impact

Partnership rolls off the tongue but what does it need to mean in this critical decade between 2020 and 2030? This presentation will discuss partnerships and present an overview of the characteristics of effective partnerships. In it we pose questions about what we need to consider when working together on major environmental challenges in the Perth Region.

Perth NRM is embarking upon an ambitious program around collective engagement that moves beyond the traditional approaches of individual organisations addressing similar environmental challenges to a collective approach that relies on strong partnerships between community, industry, and government. This approach is organised around shared outcomes with tracking of agreed measures and transparent reporting of progress. The application of a collective impact approach will ensure our natural ecosystems can be shared with future generations.

Case studies of partnerships in the Perth Region will be highlighted and questions posed about what led to their success in the short and longer-term. There will be an opportunity for the audience to provide input on successful partnerships and how they want to be included in collective impact projects for positive ecological impact.

Expert Presentations

Saving our Snake-Necked Turtle Program

The Southwest Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina oblonga) is endemic to southwest WA, and is now under threat from urbanisation, climate change and predators, with recent research showing very few juveniles in our urban wetlands (Santoro et al. 2020). The ‘Saving our Snake-Necked Turtle program seeks to engage people across south west WA in hands-on conservation and citizen science to better understand and protect this iconic species.  In collaboration with the national program '1 Million Turtles' , we are working together with the community to conserve freshwater turtles across Australia. The project will provide critical information that will be used to create and implement conservation management plans. Thanks to the support and development by the City of Cockburn, in partnership with the Turtle Ecology Team at Murdoch University (science), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (PWS volunteer program), WA Wildlife (animal handling and health) and The Wetlands Centre Cockburn (educational facilities), the Turtle Tracker program has already been developed, test-driven and improved over the nesting seasons of 2019, 2020 and 2021. In its first two years of operation around Bibra Lake, over 50 nests were protected and reductions in nesting female mortality were observed. Harnessing the power of communities throughout the southwest via expansion of ‘Turtle Trackers’ throughout C. oblonga’s range could be instrumental in saving this species from potential extinction. Working with a host of partners across local government, catchment and NRM groups, and state government agencies we are seeking to engage as many people as we can across south-western Australia to partner with us to deliver this exciting and critical project. The project has five elements: 1) TurtleSAT: Engaging the wider community by recording turtle or nest sightings using the national TurtleSAT app; 2) Turtle Trackers: Creating dedicated teams of ‘Turtle Trackers’ at selected wetland or rivers across the snake-necked turtle’s range to protect females and their nests; 3) Engaging community in research: investigating turtle populations, characteristics of turtle habitat and a national predation survey; 4) Range-wide surveys: Conducting turtle population surveys at additional sites so that we can monitor improvement in ‘Turtle Tracker’ wetlands; and 5) creating on-going community-led turtle recovery programs. In this workshop we will outline the program and show how you can be involved and make a difference to save this turtle from potential extinction. 

The Frog Files- the why and how to revegetation guide

Frogs live in the air, land and water hence understanding their life cycle and their importance in the system is vital to sustaining a diverse ecosystem.

Did you know 95% of frog biomass is food for other critters? And did you know frogs eat many critters we call pests?

Frogs have significant values in both indigenous and non-indigenous cultures, they serve as totems for many traditional peoples’ and indicators for when a food source is available and are the ultimate indicator of ecosystem health. Going to catch tadpoles and to rear them in an aquarium at home and then return them back to the wetland, is my first memory of interacting with the wetland.

Frog numbers have undergone substantial declines in the past 30 years and there are numerous reasons for this including habitat destruction, salination, declining water quality and quantity.

Most of our frogs are brown, have claws and don’t like a lot of water, only at a certain time.

Understanding the biology of the frogs in your area offers you the opportunity to build your revegetation projects that will create habitat not only for those frogs but all the other beneficial critters such as pollinators and predators associated with them.

Join The Frog Doctor, Johnny Prefumo on a journey to understand and appreciate our iconic frogs.

The Hidden World of Noogenboro - Herdsman Lake Discovery Centre takes flight

Environmental education is central to the conservation of wetlands: people protect what they care about. This presentation will explore the role of environmental centres in conservation, through the lens of the newly re-opened Herdsman Lake Discovery Centre.  Noongenboro / Herdsman Lake is a world-class wetland in inner city Perth. With the generous support of Lotterywest, along with many volunteers, friends and partners, the Centre now has a new name, a new look, updated educational programmes and vibrant community events, all interwoven with Noongar culture. Partnerships with Noongar Elders, community members, local businesses, schools and government have been central to reimagining the Discovery Centre. The Centre is now a community hub with nature experiences for everyone. Partnerships have enabled the Centre to grow and explore innovative programmes and events, engaging a broader range of community than the traditional audience of a nature education centre.  We're still looking for partners and programmes - they could include you!

Case Studies

School and Community Partnerships: Building Relationships to Enhance Wetland Education

Our students are the future custodians of the Peel-Harvey Estuary helping to look after local ecosystems through a range of projects in their classrooms, schools and communities. These key projects have been created through the development of long term relationships with not for profits, researchers and environmental groups who have a vested interest in the long term protection of the estuary. By collaborating and meeting with the various environmental conservation organisations in the catchment there can be more powerful outcomes and messages regarding the health and sustainability of the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

Creating Mandurah’s first Dolphin Fin Guide involved creating partnerships with Mandurah Dolphin Volunteer Rescue Group, Mandurah Cruises and researchers from Murdoch University. Passionate students organised Mandurah’s first Dolphin Forum to bring these groups together to inform the community about our local dolphin population. This initiative fostered leadership, , organisation skills, grant writing and has grown into regular events still hosted by our students.

The Black Bream Stock Enhancement Project partnered with The Peel Harvey Catchment Council and Murdoch University researchers which led to the establishment of a purpose built aquaculture classroom. Students involved in the pilot built and managed the system along with the researchers. They developed real world skills in practical experimental research in a school based facility involving dedication, time commitment outside of the class, precision, perseverance and adaption to the changing needs of the project.

Our relationship with the Peel Harvey Catchment Council has been integral to many of these opportunities. The Red-necked Stint Project with Milly Formby and Wingthreads arose through the Shorebird 2020 Birdcount. Our students had the opportunity to become ‘experts’ on the endangered bird and its specialised adaptions. This developed their creative and communication skills to create an education package around the ‘TimTam’ bird which thy shared with local primary schools and global partners from India and Manila.

The Shellfish Gardening Project with partners The Nature Conservancy and the Binjareb Indigenous Rangers where students grew mussels from juveniles to adults in specially designed baskets and collected data about mussel growth and other colonising marine life. The mussels will be used to explore mussel colonisation in selected locations in the estuary, where over time, the reefs are expected to become vibrant ecosystems that will help improve water quality, biodiversity, and fish stocks in the estuary.

Although bringing these projects to fruition there has been a massive time commitment outside class time involving volunteering, attending presentations and workshops, linking them to the science curriculum and getting buy-in from other staff members the experiential learning by our students has given them the opportunity to be involved in real world science applications raised their and awareness about the fragility of our local ecosystem.  They are helping to raise awareness within the community of the importance of nature conservation and are actively involved in the quest for sustainability creating resources, games, books and videos presenting at forums, Conferences, Kids Teaching Kids, Primary Schools.

Connecting with Schools: A Win-Win and Win for Wetlands!

The Wetlands Centre has been reviewing its Primary School programs over 2021. This case study gives some insight into the shared benefits of school excursions for students, teachers, the community and of course Wetlands. It examines how wetlands education can achieve multilayer outcomes, through simultaneously delivering curriculum-linked student learning, community engagement opportunities, and ultimately fostering positive wetland care behaviour. Observations of how this can be better framed in the future are considered and if time allows a short discussion on 'what is needed' by schools and other stakeholders will be facilitated.


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Join us for an outstanding experience that brings together scientists, planners, community leaders, educators, natural resource managers, aboriginal elders, environmental champions, nature enthusiasts and stakeholders in the network that connects us all – Our Wetlands.