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

Calendar Art Competition

$100 vouchers up for grabs, as well as the chance to have the artwork featured in the 2019 Winton Wetlands calendar
Simply enter the Winton Wetlands Calendar Art Competition

Twelve winners will be chosen based on their merit and creativity by the Winton Wetlands Calendar Competition Committee. These winning artworks will be featured in the 2019 Winton Wetland Calendar, with all funds raised from the sale of the calendar going to the Friends of Winton Wetlands restoration work.

This competition is open to children of primary school age and living in Australia.

Competition closing date: 5pm, Monday 12 November 2018

The Competition Committee is looking for bright colours, creativity, good technical skills, use of space and a good story to accompany the submission. Each winning artist will receive a $100 voucher.

Image: Henley Public School 2018 Calendar

Competition Requirements

Entrants must provide their full name, age, school name and grade and a parent/guardian’s contact phone number.
Artwork should be landscape, A4 size and accompanied by 25 words or less addressing one of the themes mentioned below:

  • Birds – The rare Regent Honeyeater is among the nearly 200 bird species identified across our diverse ecosystems.
  • Wildlife – Our site is perfect for encountering kangaroos, echidnas and even tiny antechinus.
  • Pest Animals – Winton Wetlands is unfortunately home to some pest species whose effect is damaging to our restoration efforts.
  • Insects – Important to our food webs and ongoing regeneration, insects are also vital to growth and balance.
  • Habitat – Native plants and a healthy environment provide safe homes for our birds and wildlife.
  • Threatened/Endangered Species – Winton Wetlands is home to 11 nationally listed endangered species.

Mail Submission

Artwork no smaller than A4 can be sent via post or be delivered in person to:
Winton Wetlands – Calendar Art Competition
652 Lake Mokoan Road
Chesney Vale VIC 3725


Artwork can also be submitted electronically to should be at high resolution (suggested 300dpi), landscape, A4 size, bright and clear. The original image must be available to be sent if required by the Competition Committee.

At Winton Wetlands we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

The promoter is Winton Wetlands, ABN 53 224 268 294
The promotion commences at 9am on Monday 15 October and closes at 5pm on Monday 12 November 2018.
The competition is open to primary school children who are residents of Australia.
Permission of a parent or a guardian to enter the competition is required as the winning images will be featured in the 2019 Winton Wetlands calendar, on the Winton Wetlands website, facebook page and in any other Winton Wetlands marketing material.
Employees of Winton Wetlands or their family members are not permitted to enter the competition.
Any entries received after the closing date will not be eligible to enter the competition.
Entrants can only submit 1 entry into the competition.
The total value of all 12 prizes is $1200. This consists of 12 x $100 vouchers.
The competition winners will be chosen by the Winton Wetlands Calendar Competition Committee and all winners will be notified by either email or phone call by Friday 23 November 2018.
If the winners cannot be contacted or do not claim their prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
Winton Wetlands reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice.
Winton Wetlands will only use any personal details for administration of the competition.

Woman (in silver) by Sonia Payes remains until 6 April

woman-in-silverLocation: Point Gama [Reed Spear], 500m south of Mokoan Hub 6: Cafe, on the Foreshore

Display dates: 9 March to 6 April 2018 Woman [in silver] stands three metres tall – imposing mercurial, multi-faceted appearances across the foreshore landscape.

The sculpture represents humanity and female strength, reiterating that history falls within the inevitable cycle of birth and death, beginning with the individual, and intertwining the past and present in the future.

Sonia Payes’ sculptures are symbols of life – seeking protection through landfall and to adapt and evolve.

About Sonia Payes: Her body of work explores the narrative of humanity’s capacity to adapt and grow in the ever-changing landscape.

Payes has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions at McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Sculpture by the Sea [Cottesloe, WA and Bondi, NSWL Monash Gallery of Art, Scott Livesey Galleries, and in international art fairs; London, Auckland, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

See more


Sonya Payes with her sculpture Woman (in silver) photo by Rensmart Photography