Wilderlands have held a special event to celebrate the protection of over 100,000 square metres of precious Australian biodiversity and bring together the people and partners who’ve made this possible.

The event was held at Melbourne Connect with over 80 leaders gathering for the launch of – The First 100 – a new dashboard detailing the journey to this milestone and guests had the chance to hear stories from supporters and partners who’ve been working with Wilderlands and who are committed to the mission of protecting nature; one square metre at a time.

Wilderlands CEO Ash Knop opened the evening with a reflection of the growth of the business over the past two years, having launched prior to many of the ground-breaking biodiversity initiatives that have progressed the nature positive discussions, and said it was at a time when many questioned whether biodiversity credits were even a market worth exploring. 

“We launched before the world had committed to protecting 30% of nature by 2030, before the Australian Government announced the nature repair market, and before the final TNFD framework was launched; so it was a very different time,” said Knop.

“Without the support of the people and partners in this room I’m certain we wouldn’t be standing where we are today and we’re so grateful for your support.”

Wilderlands Lead Ecologist Deanna Marshall echoed his gratitude as she shared the impact that’s been made possible through this support and revealed the results from the first annual project reports including highlights from the management and monitoring across the four properties and key findings captured during spring visits.

The theme of partners was a key focus of the evening and provided the chance to explore the recent launch of the Limited Edition Coastal Wildflower Duo, developed in partnership with al.ive body and protecting a square metre of the Coorong Lakes with every product sold.

A product over 12 months in the making with every detail connected back to the Coorong; it proved a popular announcement when Wilderlands shared that every guest would be going home with their very own pack as a thankyou for their support.

Attendees also had the chance to hear from partners including biodiversity intelligence platform Xylo Systems and corporate gifting platform Elliephant who provided interactive booths where guests could hear more about the collaborations with Wilderlands and how the demands from businesses for nature based solutions was changing over time.

Amongst other highlights of the evening was the augmented reality experience which was developed in collaboration with leading mixed reality studio Phoria and gave guests the chance to explore a virtual art gallery inspired by the Birds of Wilderlands concept; which details the species supporters are helping to protect across four projects.

This experience transformed the precinct entrance into an immersive corridor with virtual birds flying around the heads of guests and featured a mix of 3D elements, video, soundscapes, and imagery forming part of the tour which could be explored via the mobile phone, bringing nature into the space and helping the event come to life.

Throughout the evening the Wilderlands team invited guests to share how their organisations are considering nature as part of their strategies and heard insights from leaders such as The GPT Groups’ Biodiversity Performance Manager Phillip Martin, ANZ’s Executive Director of Environmental Markets Daniel Ota, and The Nature Collective’s Stephanie Sirianni, each discussing their progress as well as praising the leadership shown by Wilderlands in the emerging voluntary biodiversity market and nature positive space.

It was, however, an analogy by Wilderlands Co-Founder Paul Dettmann that had many reflecting on how desperate and dire it is to continue pushing for action and why solutions are so necessary as we seek to understand the nature damage that’s been done.

“Imagine you’re about to go on a flight and just say I told you I pulled out a part of that aeroplane, would you still fly?” asked Dettmann.

“Well what about if I pulled out 10 parts, there’s a point at which the system is going to fall apart, and I feel with the biodiversity piece we’re pulling pieces apart and we don’t really know how this system really works.”

This challenging question was indicative of the quality of discussion which was consistent throughout the evening, thought provoking and yet determined to take action and present a way to work together to find a solution because our planet needs our response.

Learn more about Wilderlands and the path to the First 100 via the dashboard and connect with the team if you’d like to start protecting Australia’s precious biodiversity; one square metre at a time.