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Hunter Wetlands marks 2024 World Environment Day

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5 June is World Environment Day. 

And, to mark the occasion, the Hunter Wetlands Centre is inviting people to come and see what is achievable when community works together to restore and protect the environment. 

An initiative encouraging environmental awareness and action, this year’s theme focuses on land restoration – a subject that resonates deeply with Hunter Wetlands Centre’s mission and achievements over the past 40 years. 

“Our wetlands have undergone a remarkable transformation evolving from a degraded landscape into a vibrant ecosystem full of diverse flora and fauna” said James Wilson, general manager, Hunter Wetlands Centre. 

The 45-hectare Shortland site on the banks of Ironbark Creek has had an environmentally checkered past.  

Over the past century the pristine wetlands were cleared, filled in and used as a sports field, dairy farm, and dump. 

Since taking over the derelict site in 1984, the Hunter Wetlands Centre has excavated ponds and waterways, planted almost 400,000 plants, reintroduced threatened species and rehabilitated the site back to its wetlands origins. 

Today, the restored site, with its trails, ponds and picnic areas, is a haven for wildlife and a favourite with families and nature lovers.  

In 2002, it was designated by RAMSAR as a wetlands of international significance

“Our efforts have demonstrated that even heavily impacted environments can be restored through community action and scientific stewardship,” Wilson said. 

With the Newcastle-Hunter region occupying the state’s largest coastal wetlands, he added restoring and managing wetlands habitat is of importance to the local community. 

“There’s enormous social, economic and environmental value to wetlands. They reduce the impact of flooding and tidal surges, support fish populations, and play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change,” Wilson said.  

“Despite this, wetlands are one of our most at-risk environments, primarily due to urban development.” 

Not all is lost though says Wilson. 

“We know it is a critical time for the environment and change is needed, but we also want people to be aware of the success stories, too.  

“Our message is that it’s not too late for communities to come together to restore and protect our environment.” 

Hunter Wetlands Centre is marking World Environment Day with free entry on 5 June along with a free guided tour of the grounds at 10am.  

This will be followed by a special Guided Twilight Tour on Saturday 8 June at 4pm; bookings through wetlands.org.au.  

Visitors can explore the Centre’s habitats and learn about the wetlands’ restoration and conservation projects. 

For more on The Hunter Wetlands Centre:

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