COVID-19 Measures

Update 19th  February: Read about what facilities are open or remaining closed for now at Winton Wetlands.

The safety of our visitors and staff is Winton Wetlands highest priority. When visiting Winton Wetlands, please adhere to Victorian State Government guidelines and restrictions surrounding social distancing, group sizes and hygiene. Full details can be found at

Facilities currently open:

  • Winton Wetlands reserve (open for day-use activities)
  • Cycling trails and walking trails
  • Toilet facilities at Greens Hill, Bill Friday Swamp and the Boat Ramp
  • The Mokoan Hub & Café.
  • Campsites and campgrounds
  • Fire pits
  • Playground
  • Picnic tables
  • Water drinking fountains
  • Project Office

Mokoan Hub & Café

To comply with Victorian COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, you’ll notice some changes in the Café, for your health and ours, so we thank you for your patience and understanding.

Bookings are essential ☎️ 0497 939 507 |Open 7 days | 9am – 4pm

For the health and safety of our staff and patrons, the following booking conditions apply:

  • Wear a mask unless seated at your table.
  • Check in on arrival and check out on departure.
  • Table service only.
  • Payments will be processed at your table.
  • Group bookings are limited to 20 people. This includes any children.
  • Please stay seated unless using the facilities.
  • Bookings are limited to 2 hours.
  • Please use hand sanitiser provided.
  • Please adhere to social distancing guidelines.

If you to amend your booking please let us know as soon as possible so we can accommodate any changes.

For more details visit the Mokoan Hub & Café page.

Facilities remaining closed for now:

  • Tours and events
  • Kayaking/boating (unavailable due to dry conditions)

Our Project Office phone line is operating during our normal business hours, 9am-4pm Monday to Friday, ph. (03) 5766 4462.

Emergency Contacts:

Police, Fire, Ambulance: ph. 000

The safety of our visitors and staff is Winton Wetlands highest priority. When visiting Winton Wetlands, please adhere to Victorian State Government guidelines and restrictions. #staysafe

Keep in touch with us online:



We have taken measures throughout our organisation to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Measures within the organisation include, but are not limited to…

  • government health guidelines and recommendations have been conveyed to staff
  • hygiene and sanitising practices have been reiterated and increased
  • staff are working remotely where possible

Please know we are staying in touch with the relevant health and government departments to monitor changes during this time.

Precious Cargo on Board

If you’re following our story of Rewilding the Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) at Winton Wetlands, we are proud to say the project is well underway!

An essential aspect of this project has been to determine the presence or absence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis – the fungus that causes the detrimental Chytridiomycosis disease in amphibian populations.

Over the course of 18 months, fifty frogs from six different species have been ethically swabbed at Winton Wetlands in order to collect information on the incidence of this fungus. Peron’s Tree Frog (Litoria peronii), Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis), Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerili), Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet (Crinia parinsignifera), Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera) and the Sudell’s Frog (Neobatrachus sudellae) were all located in a range of areas across at the reserve.

Our team was excited to see the complete collection of swabs travel to cesar laboratories at Melbourne University today to undergo DNA analysis which will provide a clear picture of the status of the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis fungus.

The next component of the project commencing immediately is habitat assessment, and in combination with the DNA results, will help with selecting an appropriate source population of Growling Grass Frogs suitable to Winton Wetlands.

The team at Winton Wetlands would like to thank the Wettenhall Environmental Trust for their support of the Rewilding the Growling Grass Frog project and all the fantastic volunteers who have assisted so far.

Stay tuned for future updates on this exciting species reintroduction!

Wall to Wall @ Winton Wetlands

Join us for Wall to Wall Festival this year! Jump aboard one of our guided bus tours or help us complete our larger-than-life turtle play sculpture in our fantastic nature playground!

Art Tour | Stories from the Landscape (AM & PM Tour + Lunch Package Available)

Board our bus and navigate the Winton Wetlands Art Trail stopping at our most memorable locations to hear from local presenters along the way. Unravel the history and ecological aspects that are uniquely “Mokoan”.

Interested in our Morning Guided Bus Tour? For more info click here!

Interested in our Afternoon Guided Bus Tour? For more info click here!

Bookings are essential and spaces limited. 

Conservation Creatives | Paint by Numbers (10AM onwards)

Help us complete our larger-than-life turtle play sculpture as part of Wall to Wall Festival 2020!

Situated in it’s native habitat of the nature playground at the Mokoan Hub & Cafe, our larger-than-life concrete turtle play sculpture (crafted by award-winning Yackandandah artist, Benjamin Gilbert) is desperate for decoration!

Join us for a FREE paint by numbers experience.

Have the family get involved and bring the playground to life through completing the sculpture in this creative outlet that also considers the importance of our environment.

All ages welcome. First come, first served. Smocks and all supplies provided.

Where : 652 Lake Mokoan Road | Chesney Vale VIC 3725.

Enquiries, phone: 03 5766 4462

The Mokoan Hub & Cafe’ will be open per normal from 9am – 4pm serving breakfast, lunch and everything delicious in between. For bookings, phone: 0497 939 507 

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

It’s a fact – less than 30% of scientific researchers in the world are women.

According to the United Nations General Assembly (and us!) “women and girls deserve full and equal access to and participation in science”. On February 11th, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we acknowledge our women team members, industry associates and volunteers who are kicking goals in science. Learn a little about our very own woman scientist, Dr Lisa Farnsworth:

Dr Lisa Farnsworth is a widely-published and highly regarded wildlife ecologist, extensively experienced in her field.

A local to the high country of north east Victoria, Lisa is in her sixth year with Winton Wetlands as terrestrial Restoration Ecologist and her story, which brings her to arrive at this point, is one of dedication and passion.

Lisa completed a Bachelor of Science at LaTrobe University and went on to achieve First Class honours at Deakin University in a study of fur seal pup development. She then proudly earned her PhD working with reptiles and fire ecology in the Mallee.

Relocating to the west coast, Lisa’s work at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary in outback Western Australia allowed her to make her mark in ecological habitat restoration, feral management and species recovery.

As a professional in her field, Lisa says that her role in inspiring younger generations to contribute to the science industry is an inherent and vital responsibility. Encouraging young people to follow their true calling through access to science can mean individuals’ core values are applied to careers that make a real difference in today’s world.


World Wetlands Day Biodiversity Photo Comp

Test out your photography skills at Winton Wetlands and enter our World Wetlands Day Biodiversity Photography Competition, beginning on Wednesday 15th January!

Photographs must be taken at the Winton Wetlands site within the last 12 months. We have three categories; junior (16 and under), smart phone and DSLR and prizes up for grabs for each category.

Entries can be submitted to

Your entry should include:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Photograph (JPEG or JPG formats only – up to 10mb)
  • Address the biodiversity theme
  • Photograph caption explains links to the biodiversity theme

For more information and T&Cs click here.

New Solar Project Proposed

Winton Wetlands’ environmental potential is being diversified with expressions of interest now open on a new solar project for the site.

In response to the Australian Government’s initiative to mitigate the risk of climate change and global warming, the purpose of the proposed project is to supply green electricity generated from solar irradiation into the National Energy Market.

“The Committee of Management is capitalising on the site’s natural economic strengths and aligning themselves to add to the State Government’s energy mix, as we work towards the target of 40% renewable energy generation by 2025“ said Dr Dennis O’Brien, Chair of the Winton Wetlands Committee of Management.

“Solar farms are the most direct way to help us reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Solar farms feed surplus power to the mains grid thereby distributing renewable, clean energy”

After two feasibility studies considering the practicability of developing a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility and associated infrastructure on the Winton Wetlands site, and the preliminary ecological constraints and planning approval matters, it was determined that solar PV projects at the Winton Wetlands site are technically viable at a commercial scale.

“The choice of location for the Mokoan Solar Project is driven by two main factors. Firstly, this location has among the highest levels of solar irradiation in Victoria. Secondly, the site has excellent topography – being very flat, with excellent drainage features.”

The proposed site is up to 800 hectares of crown land, to build and operate 200+MW capacity, equating to a provision of approximately 50,000+ households.

The Expression of Interest process is now open until Friday 12 July 2019 with further information available by contacting Daniel Basham, Chief Executive Officer on 03 5766 4462 or at


Wildlife Rescue with Winton Wetlands

Media Release | 15 April 2019

The Friends of Winton Wetlands recently organised a ‘Wildlife Rescue info with Clean Up Day’ event which delivered information and knowledge on how to help injured wildlife, presented by Shirley Steegstra from Benalla Wildlife Rescue. An active effort to clean up the Winton Wetlands site was also a part of the day.

Winton Wetlands and the Friends would like to thank all those who attended the event and Shirley for her time and the wonderful work she does. Shirley has provided some basic information about what to do if you come across injured wildlife.

What to do if you find injured wildlife

If you find an injured native animal or bird, pick the animal up using a towel or blanket and place it in a cardboard box that is also line with a towel. Ensure you have put some ventilation holes in the box first. Place the box securely in your car, not in the boot as exhaust fumes can kill the animal. If you do not have access to immediate assistance, keep the animal in a warm, dark place and keep noise to a minimum to avoid stressing the animal. Please do not offer the animal any food and water as native animals have very specialised diets and feeding an animal that is in shock can be fatal. Take the animal to your nearest vet or contact your local wildlife rescue organisation. Vet clinics and rescue organisations do not charge to accept wildlife.

Please remember that some animals do not require rescuing. For example, some baby birds are left for a short time while the parents forage for food.

If you find a kangaroo, wallaby, possum or koala that has been injured be sure to check the pouch for young. If ever in doubt, ring your local wildlife organisation for assistance.

Becoming a wildlife rescuer

Wildlife Shelter Operator Authorisations are for experienced wildlife carers who have the expertise and facilities to house a range of wildlife in need of care, including those with complex requirements.

Foster Carer Authorisations are for those who wish to learn wildlife rehabilitation. Foster Carers are authorised under the Wildlife Shelter Operators so that people new to wildlife rehabilitation can gain experience and guidance in the care and treatments of native wildlife.

Wildlife rehabilitation is rewarding but is time demanding and can be physically and emotionally demanding. It requires a range of skills such as safely capturing and handling distressed wildlife, administering first-aid (sometimes performing euthanasia) and providing appropriate food and enclosures.  All this must be done in a way that doesn’t stress the animals and maintains their natural behaviours to allow a successful life in the wild after release.

If you are interested, DEWLP recommends that you volunteer with an experienced authorised shelter prior to applying for a Foster Carer Authorisation.

Find more information at

Download this media release in PDF format

Science Forum

5th Annual Restoration Science Forum

15th and 16th August 2019


The theme for the 2019 event is ‘Connecting People with Nature’. This theme emphasises the role of nature in both ecosystem health and human health.

We are interested in both the restoration stories and how these have helped connect people with nature.

We are planning to feature talks and workshops examining the role of nature and ecosystem restoration in providing opportunities for connection with nature, such as walking, canoeing or cycling in nature, volunteering in restoration projects and citizen science and the impacts these can have on wellbeing, health and mental health of participants.

Our keynote speakers include:

Professor Pierre Horwitz from Edith Cowan University, who is currently a Professor in the School of Natural Sciences. With research interests in wetland ecosystems, health and sustainability, he is involved in research on environmental management projects in Australia, the South Pacific and South-East Asia, aiming to better understand, and address, the social and environmental determinants of human health and well-being. Pierre was a member of the Ramsar International Convention on Wetlands’ Scientific and Technical Review Panel (2009-2015), where he is providing detailed input and coordination for the Convention’s theme on Wetlands and Human Health. As an example of Pierre’s work, a recent article published by The Conversation illustrates “how urban bushland improves our health and why planners need to listen”.

Yvonne Taura (Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Uenuku, Ngāti Hauā) is a Māori researcher for Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research (crown research institute), in Hamilton, NZ. Her research interests are working collaboratively with iwi (tribes) and hapū (sub-tribes) on various projects that implement kaupapa Māori (Māori methodological) approaches and processes. Yvonne is a co-editor of Te Reo o Te Repo, a wetland handbook that focuses on Māori values and aspirations for wetland restoration. Yvonne is a PhD candidate at the University of Waikato (Hamilton, NZ), her topic explores empowering iwi and hapū to utilise mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) based science tools and frameworks in restoration and monitoring, in order to enact their kaitiakitanga (guardianship) responsibilities.

Cheri van Schravendijk-Goodman is a descendant of three iwi (tribes) affiliated with the Whanganui River on her mum’s side – Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Apa and Ngāti Rangi. Thanks to her Dad, she also descends from Breda in the Netherlands.
She is freelance contractor/advisor working mainly with iwi (tribes) and hapū (sub-tribes) in the areas of restoration science and environmental planning. More recently, she has finally been able to do her dream job of working for her own river and her people. She has interests in environmental science – particularly ethnobotany, wetland restoration and mātauranga taiao (cultural environmental-ecological knowledge), biosecurity and the training and development of tribal members working at the ‘flaxroots’. Her most recent work has focused on wetlands and the sharing of narratives from the indigenous people who give these spaces their unique voices. Cheri’s presentation at this year’s Forum is titled ‘When the River can’t find her happy place – why wetlands are more that just ‘wetlands’ for a truly healthy Te Awa Tupua.’

Jennie Schopfer-Bons studied Biological Sciences in the 1980s in a variety of Science related jobs both in Australia and overseas. (Zoology – Latrobe University & Zurich Univeristy). Jennie is currently an Early Childhood teachers in a stand alone community kindergarten. Her Science studies, nature pedgogy training and personal history influence her teaching and pedagogy. Jennie recently complete a Master thesis research project that was titled: ‘What are early childhood educators pedagogical beliefs for including a Bush Kinder element to their program?’

Dr Rebecca Patrick, the Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Co-lead of the Health Nature Sustainability Research Group at Deakin University and Vice President of the Climate and Health Alliance. In this talk, Dr Rebecca Patrick (Co-lead of the research group) will take you on a guided tour of some of the evidence they, along with partner organisations, have generated. Highlights will include research on: improving natural environments and human health by enhancing the delivery of environmental volunteering programs; the health benefits and associated economic value of parks and park use; evaluating community health interventions that promote human health and sustainability; and mental and spiritual health benefits of contact with nature. The talk will land on ‘what does this evidence mean for wetlands initiatives?’.

Mark Bachmann, Nature Glenelg Trust

Nature Glenelg Trust has now engaged community volunteer help in wetland restoration works at many sites in south-eastern Australia on public and private land. Beyond the obvious practical assistance provided for the construction of geo-fabric sandbag weirs, which was our main initial intention, we have since discovered and observed a range of other benefits and incidental spin-offs as a result of this approach to wetland restoration – for both the participants and the communities they represent. This presentation will explore a range of situations where volunteers have assisted Nature Glenelg Trust with wetland restoration works in Victoria and South Australia, and examine the ecological and sociological outcomes of this hands-on and inclusive approach to wetland restoration project delivery.



Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation Welcome to Country
Dr Dennis O’Brien, Chair, Winton Wetlands Welcome & Introduction to Winton Wetlands
Prof Pierre Horwitz, Edith Cowan University The multifaceted relationships between wetlands, conservation action, and human health
Michael Johnson, Moonlit Sanctuary Moonlit Sanctuary: Connecting People to Nature
Yvonne Taura & Cheri van Schravendijk-Goodman Te Reo o Te Repo –The Voice of the Wetland, a cultural wetland handbook
Friends of Winton Wetlands Friends of Winton Wetlands connecting people to nature – Past, Present & Future
Winton Wetlands Staff and Committee Restoration Update – Winton Wetlands Reserve
Jennie Schopfer Role of nature play in early childhood learning
Pat Feehan, Birdlife Murray-Goulburn BLMG Winton Wetlands Bird Monitoring Review
Martin Potts, Greening Australia The Cultural Story of Lake Wellington
Mark Bachmann,Nature Glenelg Trust Exploring the immense value of community volunteer involvement in wetland restoration trials


The 2019 Forum will offer an excellent opportunity to hear speakers from a range of organisations and provide a platform for people to speak about their own projects, nominate their own selection of speakers and get involved in new activities as part of the Forum. There will also be opportunities to view other activities happening on-site such as the indigenous cultural trail, landscape art installations and cycling trails to name a few.


Download a PDF version of the Science Forum Program here.

Wall-to-Wall at Winton Wetlands

1 April 2019

The Wall-to-Wall festival is nearly upon us and Winton Wetlands will host one of this year’s featured murals. The staff and volunteers at Winton Wetlands and the Mokoan Hub & Café are very excited to welcome renowned street artist Andrew J Bourke (Sirum) to the wetlands this weekend to turn the main interior café wall into an eco-inspired masterpiece, capturing the ecological essence of the site.

With a deep curiosity for the natural world, Andrew’s work is inspired by the energy and beauty that is found within nature. “Since I was a child, I have found myself curious of the natural world … Drawn to the smallest of details, I look to find the space in-between” said Andrew.

This passion for detail is seen in Andrew’s finely observed graphic work, and his deft use of colour. Having refined his craft over many years as an urban artist, Andrew moves between the mediums of aerosol, house paint, charcoal and acrylics with considerable skill. His work is distinctive for its rich and vibrant colour, technically accurate, fast, free-flowing line, and ambition of scale.

Andrew’s mural work can be seen around the streets of his hometown Melbourne, and throughout much of the Australia thanks to his extensive travels in search of inspiration. It is his love for “country” that has led to Andrew’s passion for photography, a further extension of his creativity and often becoming a source of reference that flows back into his work.

Many of Andrew’s artworks can be seen around Benalla including the ‘Kelly Snake’ at Fruits N Fare and Ned Kelly at Rambling Rose. Like these murals, the café wall will reflect its surroundings and feature two local threatened species; a Growling Grass Frog and a Tree Goanna.

While the painting is taking place, the Mokoan Hub & Café will remain open (9am-5pm), continuing their wonderful customer service and serving a delicious menu. A range of options will be available including vegan and vegetarian as well as gluten and dairy-free meals as well.

The Wall-to-Wall event hosted at the Mokoan Hub & Café is a must-see event and will require bookings for a table. Please contact 0429 423 659 or

World Wetlands Day 2019 – 2 February

‘Wetlands and Climate Change’ is the theme of this year’s World Wetlands day, celebrated on Saturday 2 February.

The theme draws attention to the vital role of wetlands as a natural solution to cope with climate change.

Wetlands are the world’s most valuable ecosystems. They play a pivotal role in reaching global policies on climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction.

Wetland reserves efficiently reduce the effects of climate change by absorbing and storing carbon, reducing flood effects, and providing relief from droughts and reduction of storm surges.

Wetlands support native species by providing excellent habitation for living and breeding, which leads to a range of positive environmental effects.

Alongside the monumental environmental benefits that wetlands provide, they also play an important role in tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.

At Winton Wetlands, our team of staff and volunteers and the Friends of Winton Wetlands are leading one of the world’s most significant renewal projects.

The Winton Wetlands project aims to:

  • restore the ecology of the swamps and ancient dunes
  • enable traditional owners to connect or reconnect with the site
  • attract tourists and help reconnect and immerse people with the natural world
  • demonstrate how primary production and ecological restoration can work together
  • provide an invaluable education resource and study site.

The higher the level of restoration of Winton Wetlands, the larger contribution the wetlands can return to the environment and the regional population.

Through the restoration and conservation of ecosystems like Winton Wetlands we provide a brighter future to the people of today and those to come after us.

Find out more about World Wetlands Day at

World Wetlands Day 2019