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Adelaide Festival has become renowned as the largest arts festival in Australia delivering a two week conference that runs from the 1-17 March with over 100,000 people attending the events that are spread across the city.

Fresh off the release of their first biodiversity strategy, Adelaide Festival were looking to partner with an organisation who were protecting the planet, and in particular, making biodiversity preservation a priority in their own backyard – South Australia.

In 2023, the team were looking to design a campaign that would build on Adelaide Festival’s environmental commitments whilst also encouraging audiences to join the Festival in contributing to biodiversity protection.

With innovation a key pillar of the program, the Festival were drawn to work with Wilderlands given the unique solution the startup offered and eager to explore ways to align any goals to the recent pledge to protect 30% of nature by 2030.

The Campaign

The campaign was launched to coincide with the first days of the Festival announcing that AF would protect 1712 square metres of vulnerable habitat in the Coorong Lakes region and inviting audiences to join them in helping protect Australia’s precious biodiversity; one square metre at a time.

The announcement revealed that attendees would have the ability to unlock their very own Wilderlands profile and receive one Biological Diversity Unit (the equivalent of one square metre protected in the Coorong) paid for by Adelaide Festival, with a collective campaign goal to reach 3030 sqm protected in recognition of the global 30 by 30 goals.

Wilderlands developed a bespoke profile page for the Festival detailing their impact and the partnership was the first of its kind in connecting biodiversity protection to a per ticket mechanism for securing biodiversity units for attendees.

The campaign was supported by a promotional video that was shared across the Festivals social media channels, as well as included in a bespoke newsletter which linked to an article detailing the drivers for the partnership with Wilderlands.

Adelaide Festival CEO Kath Mainland voiced her support for the campaign through both her social media as well as quotes provided to media.

“Adelaide Festival is committed to being part of the global conversation and playing our part to reverse nature loss by 2030, which includes protecting our old growth forests, ecosystems and endangered species and habitat ecosystems,” said Adelaide Festival CEO Kath Mainland. 

“By encouraging our audiences, artists, and partners to join us in supporting these initiatives, we hope to further raise awareness of and promote effective finance mechanisms that increase funding towards nature-based solutions.”

The campaign ran from February 16 – April 11, with ongoing communications from the moment the partnership was announced right through to weeks after the Festival had concluded.

The Results

The campaign saw Adelaide Festival protect a total of 1712 square metres at the Coorong, with over 50 attendees unlocking their very own Wilderlands profile and protecting a square metre plot of land on the property with many of these individuals sharing their page and the campaign across social media and praising the initiative.

In the months that followed the campaign, Adelaide Festival CEO Kath Mainland and donors James and Leslie had the opportunity to visit the Coorong Lakes projects with the Wilderlands team and see the impact first hand.

 For Adelaide Festival, the ability to partner to protect a project that not only had environmental outcomes, but also social outcomes, was particularly important making the Coorong Lakes the perfect choice given that the land management has been designed and delivered in partnership with the Ngarrindjeri people. 

The ability to tell stories through access to high quality content as well as reporting, meant the Festival could utilise these images and videos to demonstrate the impact of their support without compromising on the brand style which is consistent across their channels. 

For audiences, it provided both an opportunity for education as well as a simple solution to the question of “where do I start.”

In the months that followed the campaign, the ability for Adelaide Festival to share updates of the progress and impact the support had achieved was a great chance to reconnect with audiences, at a time where usually the festival is far from the minds of individuals.

The campaign gained media attention in the environmental markets sector with publications like Carbon Pulse sharing the story and calling out the innovative approach to utilising biodiversity credits in a creative way to engage event audiences. 

The partnership will continue in 2024 with aspirations to build on the foundations of the 2024 campaign and further connect audiences to the impact and the importance of protecting biodiversity in Australia at such a crucial time for the planet.

About Coorong Lakes

Coorong Lakes is located south of Meningie in South Australia, at the south-east edge of the extensive Coorong Lakes system. The reserve is owned and managed by Cassinia Environmental as a conservation reserve in partnership with the Ngarrindjeri people. Coorong Lakes compliments the important wetland systems of Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert, and the Coorong Lagoons. It is here that the mighty Murray River empties into the ocean.

The Coorong is one of Australia’s most important wetland areas, designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1985. Wilderlands is proud to be adding greater protection to this important area by offering the Coorong Lakes project.

The diversity of ecosystems at Coorong Lakes makes a significant contribution to the importance of this area. Rising above low-lying saline wetland communities of saltbush and paperbark shrublands are sandy dune systems of mallee and heathy woodlands, host to a rich diversity of native plants and animals, including the rare Cleland’s Beard-heath (Leucopogon clelandii) and the rare and elusive Elegant Parrot (Neophema elegans).

The Wilderlands project at Coorong Lakes provides permanent protection and on-going management to enhance the native wildlife, complementing adjoining and nearby reserves including Mount Sandy Reserve.