Youth Wildlife Ambassador

“We tend to think of cities as biological deserts. Against all the odds, there is still wonder and diversity of life among us. There is a vibrant and fascinating but largely unseen story going on and I hope to introduce some of its characters. If we can start to see our homes and cities as living systems, then we will treat our environment accordingly.

Take a closer look at any urban neighbourhood and you may be surprised at who, other than humans, manages to eke out a living in such an ‘unnatural’ environment but this is especially true for the Elster Creek area. Having surveyed the area’s wildlife for four years and seen about a third of all bird species known from Victoria here, I am still stuck in a constant state of surprise and awe at what the place can produce. From exceedingly rare Intertidal Spiders and flies never before seen in Victoria to awesome winter feeding frenzies that churn the coastal waters white with the wings and fins of 3000 assorted seabirds, dolphins and salmon, it is a live natural spectacle with a residential backdrop.

Conserving biodiversity in cities is every bit as important as in protected areas. We know so little about what actually lives in among us or how it does so and we know even less about the possibilities for improvement if we were to start considering biodiversity in the management of cities. Urban nature is the key to literally bringing home the message that the natural world is precious and we are a part of it.”  - Gio

For his tireless efforts in sustainability and leadership, Gio as Youth Wildlife Ambassador was recognised with the following awards since 2015:

  • The Australia-wide Individual Achievement Award from United Nations Association of Australia
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement (15-20 years old) Award from Inner Eastern Local Learning Education Network (IELLEN)
  • Young Leaders Award from Keep Victoria Beautiful
  • Highly Commended Finalist – Victorian Young Landcarer of the Year at the 2015 Victorian Landcare Awards