Barwon estuary project: a community education approach to stewardship

Mr Jon Duthie1

1Barwon Estuary Project, Barwon Heads, Australia.


How do we, the enthusiasts, help to inspire the broader community and engage them in  caring for our coastal environment?

In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, 95 kms south of Melbourne, residents have created a community education program to help locals and visitors deepen their understanding of the Barwon Estuary.

In this presentation Jon Duthie will detail the ways in which the Barwon Estuary Project draws on multiple educative approaches in delivering an ongoing environmental program for those who learn via art, nature journalling, photography, reading, playing games, canoeing, citizen science, singing, bushwalking and rambling the rock pools, as well as via the more scientific forums, lectures and hands-on conservation activities.

In and around Barwon Heads, our local communities can – and should – be part of the movement to protect the biodiversity of these internationally significant Ramsar wetlands and flyways including Victoria’s westernmost occurrence of the White Mangrove.

This presentation will showcase some of the educative products created over the last 3-4 years as part of BEP’s multi-generational program. You’ll see our nature journal, our exhibitions, the annual school diary and a collaborative board game – Estuary Protectors. You’ll also see samples of our community events and workshop programs.

As David Attenborough says: “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”


From pulling weeds, collecting litter and saving animals to leading exploratory walks, addressing forums and conducting citizen science activities, Jon has dedicated the last 30 years to working with conservation groups, school students and community members as they deepen their knowledge of how to care for the the local environment, in particular the Barwon Estuary.