Make a Difference Day is an activity associated with the conference that is free for conference delegates to take part in. Make a Different Day will take place on Monday, 25 September.
Make a Difference Day gives conference delegates the opportunity to participate in a hands-on restoration activity experience close to the location of the World conference. For the 10th World Conference, we will be participating in restorative activities at the McMinns Lagoon Reserve, located approximately 35 kilometers south east of Darwin. Attendees will learn about the history of the Reserve site and the activities being carried out there from the President of the McMinns Lagoon Reserve Association (MLRA). They will then help out in planting and other ecological restoration activities on site. A picnic morning tea and lunch will be provided.
This year’s Make a Difference Day is supported by Ecosure.
Participants will depart for McMinns Lagoon Reserve at 7:30 am from the Darwin Esplanade. After arriving at the Reserve about 35 minutes later, we will first attend a presentation by Brian McWilliams, President of the MLRA. This will be followed by attendees helping in on-site restorative activities until 10 am, when we will break for a delightful picnic morning tea in the grassy area beside the Lagoon. Following morning tea, attendees will again undertake on-site restorative activities until 12:30 pm. A lunch and presentation by BirdLife NT follows, after which, attendees will depart for Darwin, arriving by about 2:30 pm.
** Participants should wear sturdy shoes, long pants, and ideally long sleeved shirts as well as sun hats; any equipment needed, including work gloves, will be provided. **
Background on the McMinns Lagoon Reserve
The McMinns Lagoon Reserve near Darwin consists of 41 hectares of wetlands fringed with a mix of open woodland and closed paperbark forest and grassland. The reserve, originally created as part of a rural subdivision in the early 1970s, is today owned by Litchfield Shire Council and managed by the McMinns Lagoon Reserve Association (MLRA). McMinns Lagoon is an area of significant environmental, social and cultural value to the Larrakia people and local residents.
McMinns Lagoon lies in the southern end of the Howard River Catchment. Like other lagoons, it is an important recharge area and forms a significant hydrological and ecological link to several other wetlands and drainage channels connecting the Howard River. The lagoon is a perched lagoon, reliant solely on surface water and swelling to almost twice its size during the annual wet season.
It has an abundance of native woodland, wetland and aquatic plant species including Ironwoods, Weeping Paperbarks and Water Lily. It is known to be an important rest stop for several migratory bird species en route to Siberia including the yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava), the common greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and a variety of sandpipers. Magpie geese flock to breed in the late dry season moving off as the water levels recede. It is also a significant habitat for the Northern Long-Necked Turtle. Other common residents include a pair of white bellied sea eagles and Jabirus.
MLRA was established by a dedicated group of local residents in 1987 keen to improve the aesthetic value of the lagoon. MLRA volunteers work to restore valuable wetland habitat, mitigate soil erosion and to improve water quality to protect the natural habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. They also help raise awareness and increase community ownership of the Reserve.