Sustainable Cities Awards 2021
Environment Finalists

Andrea Dennett
Conservation of the Hooded Plover
Andrea helped form this group and has led, coordinated, nurtured and cared for the groups’ volunteers for almost 14 years. Her leadership has made a significant contribution to Birdlife Australia’s Threatened Beach-nesting Birds program that aims to protect the threatened Hooded Plover.

Andrea has contributed thousands of hours, walked thousands of steps, participated in uncounted conversations engaging and encouraging individuals to care for the hooded plover and the coastal environment which is the hooded plover’s habitat. Her actions have helped ensure that this threatened species survives, its breeding population increases and that the hooded plover remains a part of the environment which we all share.

Andrea’s positive attitude to sharing the coast environment and caring for all its diversity reflects a true awareness and commitment to environmental sustainability and sets a powerful and inspirational example to the wider community.


Natured Kids
Habitat Heroes: revegetating habitat for the threatened swamp skink
During the planting season each year, lots of little conservationists descend upon Keast Park in Seaford as part of their Natured Kids Playgroup to connect with, contribute to and care for the natural environment.

The children and their families, who are part of an environmental group called Nature Kids, plant habitat for wildlife in the dunes. Because of the children’s efforts, there are now hundreds more native grasses, tea-tree, saltbush, banksias and pig-face in the sand dunes that will help reduce erosion and provide stable habitat and food for the coastal-living lorikeets, skinks, blue-tongue lizards, echidnas, possums, bush rats, cockatoos, little bats and beneficial insects.


Hanson Construction Materials
Bird Refuge Floating Islands at Hanson Lysterfield Quarry
Challenges led to learnings and refinements to make wider roll out of the model practical, including the need to prevent plant pots from floating away and development of the dual rope tethering system.

Collaboration between the following groups led to success: Hanson, BirdLife, Alex Fraser and Jehander Sweden.

The project was also presented to the Lysterfield Quarry Community Reference Group. Birds including a White-Faced Heron are now seeking refuge on the islands.


Inner West Air Quality Community Reference Group
Investigation into air quality in the Inner West
In late 2018, the state government, via DELWP, formed a community reference group of residents of Melbourne’s inner west to investigate issues relating to air quality.

Volunteers from existing groups and individual community members from Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay and Brimbank were tasked with compiling a report prioritising recommendations and specific actions for state government to take. Actions were also identified for local and federal government.

Presentations from EPA, DELWP, health experts, transport industry group, environmental lawyers and planning experts were used to gain insights into the issues. The group found residents of the inner west have health impacts which are likely attributable to poor air quality, including heart disease and asthma.

Since issuing the report, the group has decided to continue to work towards improving air quality.


Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek
Waurn Ponds Creek Restoration
The Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek is an active volunteer group that undertake regular projects to improve the social and environmental values of the Waurn Pond Creek waterway and nature corridor.

The group remove large amounts of rubbish, manage weed outbreaks, undertake site maintenance works and plant indigenous plants (propagated from seeds sourced from the site). These works have had a significant impact in improving the ecological health and habitat values of the creek corridor and created a beautiful natural space for users of the sites shared pathways to enjoy.


Environment and Waste Services
Nature based coastal protection solution by establihing an artificial reef
In consultation with the residents along the Ramblers Road foreshore, the City of Greater Geelong opted to trial a nature based coastal protection solution to build coastal resilience and prevent further erosion as well as over topping of waves which were impacting this coastal area, including private properties.

A collaborative monitoring program was established in partnership with the University of Melbourne, National Centre for Coasts and Climate, Earth Systems Climate Change Hub and the Port Phillip Eco Centre and continues three years following the construction of the artificial reef.

The reef has been very effective in preventing further erosion, stabilising and widening the beach. It has also delivered co-benefits in terms of habitat creation and restoration of seagrass.


Bella Wiyn Birralee Family Centre
Sustainability Champions of Tomorrow
Bella Wiyn Birralee Family Centre is a 5 Star Green Star certified building incorporating world leading environmentally sustainability standards in its design, construction and operation.

The building features electric car charging facilities, a 60kw solar system, a rainwater harvesting system and a meticulously designed drainage system that stops pollutants entering nearby waterways. It is the actions of the centre’s staff, children, and families, however, that create the sustainability champions of tomorrow.

The centre’s environmental journey started with sustainable living ideas being listed on an ‘inspiration board’ in the centre’s foyer. The centre’s educators and children then adopted a hands-on approach to learning about the region’s natural environment and how they can protect it by conserving energy, saving water, growing food, reducing food waste and recycling.

The centre’s kids are embracing these lessons, taking them home to their families and the local community leading to broader regional understanding of the importance of taking action to nurture and protect the environment.


City of Port Phillip
Danks Street Biolink
In 2019, volunteer ornithologists mapped potential biolinks to link fragmented bird populations through the City of Port Phillip. In response, the Council began the Danks St Biolink with community involved in design feedback and plant selection to support local bird species.

The Danks St median extends through Albert Park and Port Melbourne. In an ongoing project, lawn areas of Danks Street are replaced with native plants and organic mulch. Bird baths and nesting boxes support bird populations and hollow logs provide ground storey habitat. The completed project will comprise 20,000 grasses and flowering shrubs.

The Biolink has expanded urban biodiversity and connectivity, increased bird populations and s giving humans a closer connection with nature in the City of Port Phillip.

Volunteer ornithologists conduct monthly bird surveys and the Biolink is now an outdoor classroom for nearby Albert Park College students who monitor the animal populations and vegetation and fill bird baths over summer.


City of Stonnington
Transforming Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot)
The Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot) Masterplan has been developed to provide a long-term vision and overarching framework for the transformation and enhancement of Gardiners Creek (KooyongKoot) and surrounding open spaces along the corridor to improve the quality of stormwater entering the Yarra River, enhance biodiversity, improve access and connectivity, support active and passive recreation, celebrate cultural heritage and values and facilitate community nature connection.

A comprehensive community engagement process informed the development of the masterplan and Council has outlined a commitment to collaborate, recognising that a collaborative approach is required to achieve the masterplan vision.


Yarra Ranges Council: Sarah Fowler, Jen Ellison and Suzanne Burville
Overcoming barriers to connect into nature
Yarra Ranges Council received state government funding from DELWP called ‘Caring for our local environment’ in 2019-2021. This funding was designed to increase Victorian’s connections to nature.

Team members from the Bushland Team embarked on researching the barriers into why people don’t connect with nature. The Bushland team members set a challenge to create a series of programs designed to increase the communities’ connections with nature. The result was overwhelmingly positive with 18 projects delivered over 18 months, with 600 people directly engaged and over 5000 people indirectly engaged.

Overall 2021 Sustainable City Finalists

  • Greater Geelong
  • Yarra Rangers