Not-for-profit Wild Melbourne is dedicated to enhancing the Victorian public's understanding of native Australian wildlife, science and environmental matters. Focusing on inspiring and enabling people to seek their own intimate connections with nature, Wild Melbourne’s ultimate objective is to protect the world.
Instigating this level of cultural shift within communities is not an easy task, yet the world is facing a growing environmental crisis that can’t be ignored. Simultaneously, we are facing a societal crisis of disengagement and depression, fatigue and frustration that also must be addressed.
“We are now learning about nature’s role in our mental and physical wellbeing,” says co-founder Leonardo Guida, Wild Melbourne’s Community Operations Manager. “It’s more important than ever that we grow and maintain strong connections with natural environments.”
Wild Melbourne understands that nature needs us as strongly we need it. And the team is intent on spreading the word.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to caring about the environment or interacting with the great outdoors”, says Leonardo. The team find that the best way to incite a response is to promote personal connections with nature that are relevant and unique to individuals.
Through articles, community events and school talks, Wild Melbourne aims to educate communities on the changing environment. This new information will act as a catalyst for change in the way people relate to the environment and will therefore make an impact on the wider world.
“It’s a fantastic thing to witness people discover something about the natural world they never really understood before,” says Managing Director Chris McCormack.
Wild Melbourne boasts an incredibly diverse and passionate team, primarily individuals trained in the biological sciences, whose skills are utilised through film, sound and storytelling to produce engaging and informative content.
While the majority of the team are volunteers, Wild Melbourne has made a move toward establishing their organisation by employing one full-time staff member and setting up residence in Melbourne Innovation Centre Greensborough. “We needed a place to grow and find our legs,” said Leonardo, “Melbourne Innovation Centre offered a welcoming environment with great support services that could aid us in doing this”.
Now well-established in the space, the team have been presented with many opportunities for growth. They recently received a grant from the Norman Wettenhall Foundation to produce a video series that highlights the hard work of Victorian community conservation groups. Titled Community Conservationists¸ this project aims to bring some much-deserved attention to five dedicated groups helping to protect and conserve Victoria’s natural heritage.
Wild Melbourne believes it is more important than ever that we grow and maintain strong connections with natural environments. Every individual is a unique opportunity to protect the world. A cultural shift may be a slow process, but it is also a vital step in bridging the gap between our community and our ecosystems.
As Leonardo says, “We hope to contribute to a cultural shift whereby people within our community consider themselves more and more a part of a bigger picture, and in turn, are willing to protect that picture.”