In an effort to address the environmental impact, especially of the in person component of SER2023, the conference Organizing Committee set aside a percentage of the conference expense budget for environmental offsets, to be delivered through on-ground (or in-water) ecological restoration in Australia. Recognizing that carbon is not the only impact of our gathering, and that ecological restoration should always achieve multiple benefits, this is not designed or intended to be an accredited carbon offset. In addition to the budgeted percentage to the offsets fund, delegates were also encouraged to make voluntary contributions to the environmental offsets fund.
Applications were invited from ongoing ecological restoration projects in Australia to partner with the SER2023 Offsets Program. To be considered for the offsets fund, ecological restoration projects had to be:
- Ongoing (i.e., in progress and not yet completed) and located in Australia.
- Designed and implemented in accordance with the SER International Principles and Standards or the Australian Standards.
- Emphasize meaningful engagement of local communities and other stakeholders, and have sufficient support to be sustained to project completion.
- Have ongoing outreach information and activities about the project.
Priority was given to restoration on Indigenous lands and Indigenous-led restoration projects. Projects that link practice and research together were strongly encouraged.
Six applications were received by the SER2023 Organizing Committee, and a panel shortlisted three finalists. These projects were shared with all delegates during the in-person component of the conference. Click on the links below to know more about the three finalists.
- Winner: Hydrological Restoration at Minyumai IPA (Nature Glenelg Trust)
- Runner-up: Ecological Restoration of the Koorangie Marshes (Wetland Revival Trust)
- Runner-up: Kent St Sand Pit Restoration Project (Town of Victoria Park, Western Australia)
Voted on by conference delegates, the winning project of the offsets program is Nature Glenelg Trust’s hydrological restoration at Minyumai Indigenous Protected Reserve. This project is aimed at halting and reversing erosion while restoring the natural hydrology of the recovering swamp forest.
All in-person conference delegates were are invited to learn about the finalists and vote for the winner. The project that received the most votes from delegates won the main offsets award; the two runners-up each received a smaller award from the total available offsets fund. The winner was announced on the last day of the in-person component of the conference.