Sign up for our Environment Exchanges




Be part of an inspiring environment network as we explore a different theme each month.

Hear from fascinating guest speakers and engage in open and lively discussion about a range of topics in sustainability and environment. Includes free ploughman’s lunch

When: Last Tuesday of every month, 12 noon – till 2pm
Where: Renewables Innovation Hub, 19-23 Moore St Turner ACT

Tuesday 26 February 2019

The future of gas: A pipe dream?

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Loving your cats and wildlife too: Cat containment for Canberra?

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Biodiversity offsets: Does it work to swap damage here with fixup there?

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Superb parrot: What can be done about this difficult bird?

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Waste to energy: Feeding the incinerator?

Please RSVP for catering purposes. Reserve your place or find out more at or phone (02) 6229 3200

Donations appreciated

Save the date: 2019 World Environment Day Dinner

Save the date!

The Conservation Council ACT Region is holding its annual World Environment Day Dinner on Saturday 1st June 2019.

Theme: Optimism and Defiance

Our theme is ‘Optimism and Defiance’ – two attitudes which will be critical in 2019. Australia is at a turning point on environmental issues. The federal election is looming, and it is set to focus the nation’s attention on climate change, energy policy and our high rates of biodiversity loss. Moreover, we will see the momentum from the recent School Strike for Climate Action and Stop Adani movements ramp up. In this exciting time, join us to celebrate optimism and defiance in Canberra’s environment community, who are, and have always been, vocal and strong.

Guest speaker

Who better to give us a better insight into why optimism and defiance is important than our Guest Speaker, Dr Bob Brown?

Bob is an acclaimed author, photographer and lifelong activist, who rose to prominence when he led the campaign to save the Franklin River in the 1980s.

After 10 years in the Tasmanian Parliament, Bob was elected to the Senate in 1996 where he served for 16 years. He was leader of the Australian Greens from 2005 to 2012, when he retired from the parliament to establish the Bob Brown Foundation.

New venue

The World Environment Day Dinner is also having a change of scenery: it will be held at the National Museum of Australia. We are joining forces with the wonderful Broadbean Catering, who will provide us with a stunning 3-course meal. The dinner will start with canapes and champagne, followed by a three course meal with table wine included. All dietary requirements will be catered for.

Where: Gandel Atrium, National Museum of Australia

When: 7pm Saturday 1 June 2019

Why: It is the major fundraising event for the Conservation Council and it is a lot of fun.

Early bird bookings will open soon on our website. Stay tuned.

            Partner, 2019 World Environment Day Dinner

A year in review

The Conservation Council ACT Region has reached the end of a very busy and productive 2018. To wrap things up nicely, here’s a recap of our achievements in 2018 and a sneak peek of what’s in store for 2019.

Looking back on 2018

We have been able to achieve big for the environment in a tough year:

  • We contributed to the successful nomination of removal of mature native trees as a key threatening process under the Nature Conservation Act 2014. This is the first threatening process listed under the Act and will bring better protection of these important trees and allow more seedlings to grow to replace them.
  • We saw our ACT zero net emissions target reduced to 2045 – and now we are on our way to becoming the clean energy capital.
  • We gained a further commitment that central Molonglo remains protected from future urban development.
  • We welcomed new environment groups to our ever growing network, with thousands of supporters like you protecting our environment.
  • Our office was the hub for rallies and causes such as the School Strike for Climate, Artivists and other environmental groups in Canberra.
  • We engaged and empowered hundreds of people to engage with our environment and live more sustainably through sharing resources, news and events.
  • We continue to be active in national campaigns to protect national environmental laws and end fossil fuel subsidies – we work with national groups and other Conservation Councils to ensure the ACT has a voice on the national agenda.
  • We met with Ministers, government officials, held information forums, had fun bringing together the conservation community at our events and wrote submissions on everything from city plans and cat containment, to landscape scale environmental assessments, offsets and more!

What’s in store for 2019

Environment Exchange 

The Conservation Council Environment Exchange is back in 2019! Starting in February, we will be running a monthly forum to bring together the Canberra community to discuss a particular environmental issue. Each event has a theme and one or more speakers sharing their stories to start productive discussions to create a more sustainable world. Our first Environment Exchange in February will explore the ‘gas issue’ in the ACT and beyond. Take a look at our 2019 Half Yearly Program.


Heritage Walks

The Conservation Council is running Heritage Walks as part of the 2019 ACT Heritage Festival. This program involves guided walks at Red Hill, Kama Reserve, Mulligans Flat and Kinlyside Reserve during April 2019.


Save the date: 2019 World Environment Day Dinner

Saturday 01 June 2019, 7:00 – 10:00pm, National Museum of Australia

The theme for the 2019 World Environment Day Dinner is Optimism and Defiance and our guest speaker is Dr Bob Brown. World Environment Day Dinner is our annual fundraising event and 2019 is a particularly significant year for the environment. Join us to celebrate Canberra’s environment community!

Registrations will open in February 2019 so stay tuned for more details.

That about wraps it up – happy holidays!

We would like to thank you all for supporting the Conservation Council ACT Region and wish you all a merry and sustainable Christmas and a happy new year!

Looking forward to 2019, we need your ongoing support to ensure we can continue to protect our endangered woodlands and keep on being a strong voice for climate action.

We ask you to please consider donating today so we can be a better voice for the environment in the ACT.

Walk the Border – Light wrap up

Sunday 25 November wrapped up our 2018 Walk the Border – Light!

To celebrate the first anniversary of the successful completion of the Conservation Council’s 2017 21 day fundraising walk around the 306 km ACT border, the Conservation Council ACT Region hosted a series of four half-day walks on the ACT’s border on each of the Sundays in November.

The walks were in some of the more accessible areas of the ACT’s border and provided an opportunity for members of the public to experience some of the history and environments associated with the ACT’s boundary in a half day format – a light version of the 2017 walk.

The four walks included ecosystems ranging from ACT’s nationally significant grassy woodlands to the heavily modified rail corridor. All the walks reflected the history of the original boundary surveyors and their legacy as well as touching on things like Australia’s most notorious spy scandal.

We had a great start to the program with a walk from Woods Lane to Hume. In fine weather, the walkers took in lots of history and some big views; they explored the old speedway, the Environa historic development, and passed the important Jerrabomberra East grasslands. Walkers were given an insight into the impacts of human development on the natural environment and learnt about Hume’s role in one of Australia’s most significant spy scandals.

It was a mild and sunny day for the second walk. 15 participants got to experience the views and history of the zig zag section of the ACT’s border in North Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve. There were lots of lockspits (lines of rocks used to show a change in the direction of the border) from the original surveying team from 1911 but only a few of the original wooden surveying pegs. Some good wild flowers were out but no native orchids were found. A big highlight was the sighting of a small number of golden sun moths, a nationally endangered moth species found only in grasslands.

The third walk brought together a big group of 32 walkers, from the very young to a strong 87 year old. They joined our President, Rod Griffiths, for the third of the Walk the Border ACT – Light, which explored ACT’s far eastern point. Brooks Hill Reserve has some magic trees including the CT blazed tree at the most easterly point of the ACT and some great views.

The final walk in this program was another gorgeous day for the last of the Conservation Council ACT Region‘s Walk the Border -Light walks for 2018. A great small group was treated to sightings of classic ACT/NSW border markers and some spectacular views towards the south of the ACT. Very poignant was the memorial to the team of 200 workers who helped construct the Queanbeyan to Cooma railway in the late 1800’s. It was also good to meet the participants of the Save Kosci protest walk who have been doing a great job highlighting the threats that feral horses pose to Australia’s alpine regions.

Thanks to all the walkers for their good company. All of the walks have highlighted the history of the establishment of the ACT and many varied environments it contains. It again reminds us of the beautiful and diverse Bush Capital in which we are so lucky to live!

More photos and some stories are at Walk the Border 2017 and on the Walk the Border Facebook page.

Canberra School Strike for Climate creates national momentum

Wednesday 28 November saw young people from across Canberra walk out of school to call for real climate action to protect our future. They are joining almost 30 strikes across Australia this week. This strike made history because never before have students in Australia gone on strike from school to demand urgent climate action.

This strike was inspired by 15-year old Greta in Sweden, who refused to go to school to protest the inaction on climate change. Her story was picked up by a group of year 8 students in rural Victoria and now students all across Australia are taking part in strikes across the country.

Hundreds of school students lined up outside Parliament House on Wednesday to protest climate change. The students waited in the rain outside parliament for a couple of hours before being let in.

Students were met by parliamentarians, including Labor MPs Lisa Owens and Ged Kearney, and Centre Alliance MP, Rebekha Sharkie. They were publicly congratulated by federal Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, and invited to Wayne Swan MP’s office to present their policy positions.

They weren’t given the opportunity to speak to Scott Morrison and government ministers about taking emergency action against climate change. Instead, they wrote messages to our political leaders, urging them to take action on climate change.

This comes after the prime minister told students to be less activist and go back to school. On Tuesday, however, the Senate approved a motion to support the students in their decision to strike from school and hold a series of planned national protests. Students across the country have left school this week, with protests also happening in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart today.

This youth activism creates a strong sense of hope: Australian students are building a powerful movement that is putting pressure on our politicians to do what it takes to stop the climate crisis and protect our futures. It represents the beginning of a new age of activism from Australia’s youth who are sick of not having their voices heard.

Click on the links below to hear some of the students’ messages:


Conservation Council AGM report

The Conservation Council Annual General Meeting was held 6pm 13 November 2018 at the Conservation Council office.

The meeting confirmed the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting held 9 November 2017 and accepted a report from the President Rod Griffiths on behalf of the Board and the Executive Director’s Report from Larry O’Loughlin. The Auditor’s report and the financial statements were accepted and Saminda Maddumahewa was appointed as Auditor for 2018-19.

For the election of members of the board, including office bearers, there were nominations equal to the number of vacancies so the following were declared elected:

President: Rod Griffiths
Vice-President: Peter Ottesen
Vice-President: Marcus Hassall
Secretary: Helen Sims

Other Board Members:
Jenny Bounds
Rebecca Palmer-Brodie
Gordon McAllister
Ian Falconer
Glenys Patulny
Christopher Dorman

There were proposed changes to the Constitution. Two matters – the changes proposed to 19 (c) and (d) – were withdrawn for further discussion and all the others were accepted by the required majority.

The meeting closed and participants shared some refreshments.

Join us for Walk the Border – Light

2017 Walks Program for Walk the Border – Light

It’s on again but it’s LIGHT.

One year on Walk the Border ACT is back.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the successful completion of the Conservation Council’s 2017 21 day fundraising walk around the 306 km ACT border, the Conservation Council ACT Region is hosting a series of four half-day walks on the ACT’s border on each of the Sundays in November. Conservation Council President, Rod Griffiths,says the walks are in some of the more accessible areas of the ACT’s border and provide an opportunity for members of the public to experience some of the history and environments associated with the ACT’s boundary in a half day format – a light version of the 2017 walk.

The four walks include ecosystems ranging from ACT’s nationally significant grassy woodlands to the heavily modified rail corridor. All the walks will reflect the history of the original boundary surveyors and their legacy as well as touching on things like Australia’s most notorious spy scandal.

Details of the full program is here and further information on how to participate is on the Conservation Council’s Events Page on our website or via the links at the Walk the Border ACT Facebook page.

Recap of Walk the Border 2017

Last year, Rod Griffiths and his walking companions completed a 21 day journey circumnavigating the ACT border as part of Walk the Border ACT – A Watershed Walk. This fundraising and awareness campaign saw Rod and various intrepid adventurers traverse a range of interesting and diverse landscapes as they followed in the footsteps of ACT’s original surveyors, whose border markers can still be found over a century later.

Starting from Hall on the Centenary trail, the walkers crossed the grassy woodlands of the military firing range with the permission of the Department of Defence; they went through pine forests and saw a logging operation underway; then onto a railway line; urban streets; industrial sites; and up in the beautiful mountain ash country. The walkers crossed some of the area’s most remote and rugged mountain ranges and had close encounters with a wide range of ACT’s local plant and animal life.

Rod was only the ninth known person to have circumnavigated ACT’s entire border on foot.

Visit the Walk the Border ACT blog for more details about the great adventure and see the photos below!


You can donate to the Walks Program by going to donate at our website.

Walk the Border ACT is seeking to raise funds for the ACT’s peak environment body, the Conservation Council ACT Region. The Conservation Council has been a major force in the protection of the ACT’s urban and natural environments though lobbying, campaigning educating for more than 37 years. As a non-profit, non-government organisation, every donation to the Conservation Council, no matter how small, is important.

Spring Mingle Wrap-Up

Friday 26 October saw the Conservation Council’s annual Spring Mingle and presentation of the ACT Environment Awards. We would like to extend a very big thank you to everyone who came to this celebration – what a fantastic night! We are extremely lucky to have so many dedicated people in our communities who all enjoy coming together to celebrate the achievements of Canberra’s environmentalists and community organisations.

Now to paint a picture of this flowery affair…

The Lena Karmel Rooftop Garden is home to an array of native plant and vegetable gardens with plenty of spots for quiet contemplation. On this warm and balmy Friday, these gardens were basked in an orange glow that made you feel like you were in a dusk paradise. The Artivists added to nature’s colours with their spread of eye-popping painted banners that reminded us why we value the environment so much. Thanks go to the lovely Cathy Diver for providing us with dreamy folk tunes, which floated through the gardens to accompany the incredible views of Canberra city, Black Mountain and its surrounds. There was a spread of food and drinks, including soup which used some of the Rooftop Garden’s own homegrown vegetables and wine generously provided by Shaw Vineyard Estate.

After some mingling, music and chat, it was time to present the Conservation Council ACT Environment Awards. We would like to thank Minister Shane Rattenbury MLA for presenting the Awards. A huge congratulations go to Hannah Ford (Winner, Moira and John Rowland Young Environmentalist of the Year Award), Sarah Sharp (Winner, Environmentalist of the Year Award), and National Parks Association ACT (Winner, Member Group of the Year Award). We would also like to congratulate all the other finalists. MC Larry O’Loughlin expressed the Conservation Council’s excitement about the quality of the nominees:

“On the evidence in the nominations we have very good reason to be optimistic about our environmental activities in the ACT. We have great organisers, inspirers, workers, researchers and writers. The nominees look at small patches and big pictures. They are working on climate change and its solutions; biodiversity protection and enhancement; and with and within the broader community to bring about better environmental outcomes for the ACT.”

The Spring Mingle was another reminder of the fantastic environment community we have here in our Bush Capital. It was great to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds who have made a common commitment to serving the interests of Canberra’s environment. There was a lot of laughter and celebration. Thank you again to all those who came and contributed to this event!

We would like to thank in particular the amazing volunteers who helped set up the event, including the Artivists, Nick Blood (ANU Environment Collective) and Markus Dirnberger, Paul Magarey and Darcy Henderson for managing the bar, and Jenny Bounds and Kathy Eyles for preparing food. Thanks also go to David Howe from Dirty Deeds Event Sound for providing us with the tech for our music entertainment. Don’t forget to give Cathy Diver a ‘like’ on her Facebook page and stay up to date with her future gigs.

We hope you enjoyed the event and cannot wait until next year’s iteration!