A crowd of people walking through the bushland at the Yea wetlands event.

Partnering with Scripture Union

Project: Partnering with Scripture Union

Subject: education

Location: Victoria

Since 2021, A Rocha Australia and Scripture Union in Victoria have been running WildLife day camps – days for all ages to explore God’s creation, connect with God in his creation and learn how we can care for God’s world and steward it well. 

A crowd of people walking through the bushland at the Yea wetlands event.

Together we have learned about the snakes, birds and aquatic life at Yea Wetlands, had a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Werribee Open Range Zoo and explored urban wildlife and sustainability at the CERES Environment Park in East Brunswick. 

Photos of kids drawing at a table and the crowd in the bushland near Yea wetlands
Photos of a tour guide talking to people at Werribee Open Range Zoo
Photos of a vegetable garden, a group of people sitting in a seminar, and a garden talk at the CERES Environment Park in East Brunswick

We look forward to future WildLife events exploring different habitats and offering the opportunity to slow down, reflect on God’s faithful love for his world and consider what a faith-filled response could look like in our daily contexts. 

A panoramic photo of the wetlands at Hart Road

Hart Road Wetlands

Project: Hart Road Wetlands

Subject: research, conservation, education

Location: Hart Road Wetlands, Aldinga, SA

Traditional lands of the Kaurna people. The Hart Road Wetlands project south of Adelaide in South Australia began in 2020 in a reserve owned and managed by the City of Onkaparinga council.

A panoramic photo of the wetlands at Hart Road

Situated on a coastal plain behind Aldinga Beach, this system of artificial wetlands treats urban stormwater but was also designed to provide habitat for wildlife. Public walking paths traverse the reserve and Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park is adjacent.

Activities have involved local residents and others connected with A Rocha Australia in South Australia. 

Key outcomes so far:

– weed and rubbish removal

– revegetation with indigenous plant species

– standardised seasonal bird surveys (BirdLife Australia 2.0 ha 20 min method)

– outdoor education lessons with local Christian college classes 

– support of local community events, including traditional reed weaving 

Results show 79 bird species recorded over three years of surveys and an emerging picture of bird usage of different habitats across the wetlands. Species of ornithological interest include Peregrine Falcon, Lewin’s Rail, Baillon’s Crake, Spotless Crakeand Crescent Honeyeater.

Hart Rd Wetlands_Three years of bird surveys report_2022

Comparison of bald wetlands following construction, 2008 with thick reed establishment, 2020

Following construction: 2008

Thick habitat establishment: 2020

Education events, different wetland habitats and rubbish removal event
Musk duck Biziura lobata, Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio with chicks, White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae, Eurasian Coot Fulica atra with chicks
Traditional basket weaving with wetland reeds, Clean up Australia day event, local kindergarten visit

Further habitat restoration activities and more visitor facilities, e.g. bird hides and signage, are being planned.

Project in partnership with:

City of Onkaparinga Council logo
Aerial Picture, Tahlee

Tahlee Project

Project: Tahlee Centre for Creation Care

Subject: research, conservation, education
Location: Tahlee, Port Stephens NSW

Traditional lands of the Gringai people

A Rocha Australia’s first formal project ran from 2016 to 2019 in collaboration with Tahlee Ministries at the Tahlee property on the north shore of Port Stephens, NSW.

This followed the formative A Rocha Australia gathering at Tahlee in Spring 2015.

 
Photo of attendees at the formative A Rocha Australia gathering at Tahlee in Spring 2015, overlooking the shoreline.
Photo of a talk at the formative A Rocha Australia gathering at Tahlee in Spring 2015.

Key outcomes

– baseline inventory of flora and fauna across the Tahlee property ecosystems, with 167 bird species identified during the surveys, including 14 threatened species

– publication of Stuart Fleming’s paper in a regional ornithological journal

– discovery of resident Koalas by a research student

– control of target pest plants, including African olive with local Council assistance 

– maintaining an organic garden to supply the community kitchen

– creation care teaching for visitors and resident students

A highlight was an April 2018 conference for the Oceania region with the Lausanne-WEA Creation Care team, co-hosted by A Rocha Australia and Tahlee. Attending were delegates from Pacific Island countries, other overseas guests and Indigenous Australians.

The project finished in 2019 when Tahlee Ministries partnered with YWAM and the property became a YWAM base.

Project Partner: 

Tahlee Minstries logo
Capernwray students planted trees in October 2016

Capernwray Project

Project: Collaboration on the Capernwray Environmental Plan

Subject: research, conservation, education

Location: Capernwray, Burradoo, Southern Highlands NSW

Traditional lands of the Gundungurra and Tharawal people. A Rocha Australia has been partnering with Capernwray Torchbearers Australia since 2017 at their Wongabri property on the bank of the Wingecarribee River.

Key outcomes so far:

– providing technical advice for on-ground environmental restoration activities

– facilitating public seminars

– delivering regular bible teaching on creation care to Capernwray Bible School students 

– developing relationships with local government and community environmental groups

Capernwray students planted trees in October 2016
Sunrise bird watching at Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve during a conference in 2015

Capernwray sits next to the Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve wetland, a biodiversity hotspot with over 90 recorded native bird species and resident platypus. International college students have helped with projects.

The corner planting site near the river before planting
October 2016
The corner planting site near the river showing good establishment and growth three years after planting
April 2019

On-ground projects have protected an endangered eucalypt species, Paddy’s River Box, and restored woodland habitat through tree planting. The pre-European vegetation at the Capernwray property was the Southern Highlands Shale Forest and Woodland, now listed as a threatened ecological community at both State and National levels. 

Remnant Eucalyptus macarthurii on the Capernwray property

Capernwray operates a Bible School and Holiday Centre on the property. Several events have been hosted here in conjunction with A Rocha Australia including: 

–  conferences on ’Caring for the Garden in a Fallen World: A Christian Perspective on Nature Conservation’ and lectures for students and the general public

– a seminar on threatened species in the Southern Highlands, co-hosted with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

– a national conference in October 2016 with A Rocha co-founders Peter and Miranda Harris as guest speakers

Project in Partnership With:
Capernwray Australia logo