Engaging Community

Nature Conservation Society

of South Australia

Nature is essential to our wellbeing and for healthy communities to be resilient. We want to help South Australians feel connected to each other and to the natural world, by building a community around nature and conservation.  

We know that biodiversity conservation requires activation – we need to work with individuals and communities! We value engaging with all sectors of the community so that we can share knowledge and stories, and raise the profile of South Australia’s unique biodiversity and landscapes. 

We engage people in many ways, including:

  • Artist in Residence, helping us engage with a greater audience and raise the profile of nature conservation through artistic collaborations
  • Workshops, bird walks and activities which provide opportunities for people to celebrate South Australia’s unique nature – how lucky we are!
  • Upskilling and knowledge transfer about specific species and habitats through our workshops, citizen science opportunities, training and field days
  • Listening to community aspirations and challenges and working with them to develop solutions
  • Offering volunteer opportunities where people can take part in our research and monitoring work.

All our work is underpinned by meaningful engagement with community, landholders, ecologists, planners and other stakeholders. We know that creating positive change requires collective buy in and ownership 

As an example, our Bandicoot Superhighway Project is very ambitious as it aims to connect bandicoot populations across the Mount Lofty Ranges. To achieve this, we engaged with landholders and community at the beginning of the project, and then designed and developed the project according to their needs and expectation. As a result, this project is truly owned and led by community, and we are proud to support them. 

Similarly, our Kangaroo Island Threatened Flora Seed Production Garden requires community participation and ownership.  To achieve this, we engaged with community from the get-go and sought their feedback on the type of training and upskilling they required, how they wanted to be involved and what their priorities were. As a result, a formalised “Friends Group” will be the custodians and key drivers of the Seed Production Garden. 

Engaging authentically with people and communities is the core of our conservation work – we know that we cannot do it alone. We approach our engagement by listening to the needs and values of others, offering our perspectives and priorities, and co-designing solutions to ecological challenges. 

Engaged communities are the heart and soul of nature conservation – this inspires and motivates us.  

Building Knowledge and Capacity

Giving Communities the Tools

Training Communities to Monitor Southern Brown Bandicoots 

The Southern Brown Bandicoot is an endangered marsupial, found predominantly in the Mount Lofty Ranges (MLR) of South Australia. As is the case for many endangered animals, insufficient knowledge of the bandicoot’s distribution is a barrier to effective conservation.

This project, part of the Bandicoot Superhighway Project, aims to improve our knowledge of its current distribution, so we can identify priority management areas and seek investment to implement recovery activities. The project is overseen by the Bandicoot Superhighway Steering Group, which involves the Sturt Upper Reaches Landcare group, the NCS, National Parks and Wildlife SA, Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, Green Adelaide, the University of Adelaide, Friends of Parks SA and a local landholder. This project is made possible through a Wettenhall Environment Trust Grant.

The first step was a literature review of best-practice monitoring, which was followed by the creation of best-practice guidelines for detecting bandicoots (and other small mammals) in the MLR. We also delivered community workshops on camera monitoring, that included the deployment of cameras and evaluation of species that were detected. 

This project and the guidelines will enable the upskilling of communities on best-practice bandicoot monitoring, so they may confidently and competently undertake surveying and camera trapping. There is a need to also provide volunteers with training in data collection, data management and where to upload data records. 

By training volunteers, landholders and communities we are increasing the capacity for ongoing monitoring beyond the scope of this funded project.

Photo Point Monitoring Guidelines 

In partnership with the Yundi Nature Conservancy, the NCS developed best-practice photo point monitoring guidelines for a critically endangered wetland community, the Fleurieu Peninsula Swamps. This has enabled a network of enthusiastic and dedicated landholders to establish photo points so they can monitor the changes that are occurring because of their improved management.  

Supporting Community-Led Conservation

Landholders and Communities Play a Critical Role

We know that landholders and communities play a critical role in biodiversity and nature protection and are often best placed to be the ones to implement key work. Sometimes, groups and individuals might need financial support and can access this through competitive grants. We support this by auspicing conservation grants to reduce the workload on people that already give so much voluntarily.   

Coromandel East Biodiversity Action Group

As an example, we are auspicing a grassroots grant for a dedicated group of landholders that are focussed on protecting the integrity of their native vegetation by controlling the invasive weed species Bluebell Creeper (Billardiera heterophylla, formerly Sollya heterophylla). We have also assisted them to attract new members to their group by designing a logo and project brochure and producing maps.  

Earth Jam

Earth Jam is SA's music and arts festival for the planet.

On February 10th, South Australia’s art, music and environmental communities came together for Earth Jam: A celebration of their shared vision for a better future.

 The energetic and action-packed night cultivated a space for people to engage with SA’s environmental community in so many different ways… 

  • Brilliant music from Zoë Fox and the Rocket Clocks, Druid Fluids, Bromham, Naomi Keyte, Tell Mama, Gallery One and the Bait Fridge. 
  • Stalls from 12 engaging environmental community organisations, enabling attendees to platform their passions. 
  • Enlivening speeches from five leaders in the environment space. 
  • Earth inspired art performances and installations from the Bait Fridge Collective. 
  • Roaming interviews with the crowd about their climate concerns and visions for the future, to be translated into advocacy. 
  • A beautiful open space with delicious food and drink for people to enjoy the evening.

 All of these elements came together to create a beautiful, uplifting collective of people unified in the clear vision of a community coming together to care for people and the planet.

Check out the NCS Facebook page for event photos, and keep following the Nature Conservation Society and Conservation Council’s social media for more updates to come! 

This year’s event was made possible through our supporters at Human.Kind studios, the City of Adelaide and the Environment Institute.  

Help us make Earth Jam even better!

We’ve created a feedback survey, so that we can take on your advice on what worked well with the event, and what we could do better. Filling this out would help us immensely with event reflection and planning. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/earthjamfeedback

Learn more about the stalls of Earth Jam…


Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) are a group of local young people working together to lead campaigns for climate justice. They are looking to expand their volunteer base in SA, so don’t hesitate to sign up via their website or get in touch with them on socials.

Adelaide Sustainability Centre

Adelaide Sustainability Centre is a community hub based in the Joinery in Adelaide CBD. It runs workshops, offers resources and information to build community capacity, and ultimately is a space to connect with people in a positive, sharing environment. 

Bob Brown Foundation

The Bob Brown Foundation carries on the work of one of Australia’s pioneering environmentalists through action to protect critical threatened habitat. Whilst largely based in Tassie, the BBF’s work extends far, with campaigns to protect native forests across Australia as well as the Antartic Ocean in international waters. For Adelaide folk, the upcoming March in March for native forests is a great way to get involved.

Breathe Easy Revegetation Projects

Breathe Easy Revegetation Projects is an environmental initiative working hard to protect and enhance the precious ecology of South Australia. Breathe Easy co-ordinates community planting days bringing young people together to make positive change whilst also giving the opportunity to local businesses to offset their unavoidable environmental impacts. Keep an eye out for upcoming projects on their social media to get involved.

Breathe Easy Stall

Conservation Council of South Australia

Conservation Council of South Australia is SA’s peak conservation body and co-host of Earth Jam. The Conservation Council actively speaks up for our environment through numerous campaigns such as Protecting Adelaide’s Trees, Save St Kilda Mangroves, and Healthy Rivers in the Murray Darling Basin. You can follow their campaigns and get involved through their website.

Breathe Easy Stall


Landcare Association of South Australia is an independent, not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to supporting and advocating for community Landcare and ecologically sustainable management in South Australia. Use the website to find your local Landcare group to get involved.

Breathe Easy Stall

Port Environment Centre

Port Environment Centre is a community driven organisation and ‘gathering place’ that supports the community in living sustainably, valuing, caring for, learning about and enjoying the experience of the natural coastal, marine and estuarine environment. They have lots of ways to get involved through citizen science, community projects and various events.

Breathe Easy Stall


SAGE (South Australian Grassroots Ecosystem) is a key supporter of Earth Jam, which makes sense because they are all about building an earth-focussed community. They hold monthly gatherings on the last Sunday of every month where people can come along and share a meal with other like minded people and connect with different causes happening in the community. Learn more by coming along to the next SAGE gathering, signing up to their email list, or joining their Facebook group.

Breathe Easy Stall


SEED Mob is a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice. It is all about pursuing a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities, powered by renewable energy. They are actively seeking support from Indigenous and non-Indigenous mob, so sign up via their website to get involved.


Breathe Easy Stall

SA Urban Food Network

SA Urban Food Network is a shared community vision for a regenerative local food system. They host a variety of resources and projects, such as the Adelaide Edible Garden Trail, aimed at strengthening the local food systems. Visit their website to learn more about the services they offer, or sign up to volunteer your time.


Breathe Easy Stall


SA Youth Climate Alliance(SAYCA), previously known as Adelaide School Strike for Climate, is a collective of passionate young activists across SA united for the climate. They have a strong presence at local rallies, events, and are valued vocal advocates for climate action. See the latest post on their Instagram to see how to get involved.


Breathe Easy Stall

The Wilderness Society SA

The Wilderness Society SA has long been one of our country’s most influential bodies for taking action for conservation. They passionately campaign to protect, promote and restore wilderness. Two of their current campaigns centre around protecting the Great Australian Bight and Lake Eyre Basin. Become empowered to learn about their campaigns and get involved through their website.


Breathe Easy Stall

Trees for Life

Trees for Life is a not for profit community based organisation working with everyday people to help restore our natural environment through revegetation. They improve the health of natural landscapes through restoration initiatives, and improve awareness about nature through engaging community. From attending workshops, to raising seedlings, there are so many ways to get involved with Trees for Life, so check out their website to learn more.


Breathe Easy Stall

NCSSA Artist in Residence

2022 Artist in Residence, Amber Cronin’s


Excerpt from commissioned essay by Andrew Purvis: 

This work does not seek to improve on nature’s melodies but, rather, it recognises the way in which human culture has been shaped and influenced by birdsong. Birds weave like a bright thread through the tapestry of our poetry and song, our myths and legends, and our visual arts and crafts. Magpie-like, Amber’s soundscape is constructed from gleaned lines of poetry and musical motifs. As these elements coalesce, the work generates a kind of liminal language, one that speaks across the separation of species.

Amber produced an immersive audio experience that is worth taking the time to listen to. To hear Amber’s 10 min sound works: Dawn Chorus, scan this QR code. We recommend using headphones and getting out into nature to really experience the beauty of Ambers work.

To access the full essay by Andrew Purvis follow this link: Dawn Chorus

Created by: Amber Cronin
Vocals: Emma Borgas
Mixed by: Kaurna Cronin

To lear more about Ambers creative process and her deep connection to nature take a look at this short video via the link below.

During Amber’s residency with NCSSA, in honour of NCSSA’s 60th Birthday, Amber also created watercolour prints of four iconic Mount Lofty Ranges Birds, a magpie, a Superb Fairy Wren, a Fan Tailed Cuckoo and a Crimson Rosella. The NCSSA are very excited to offer these limited-edition prints for sale. There are only TEN of each bird printed so get in quick to secure your copy. To purchase, fill out an order form available from our SHOP. 

Partnerships & Collaborations

Nature Conservation Society of South Australia

We know that partnerships need to be effective and productive, and we achieve this with our following approach: 

  • Identify and establish clear expectations 
  • Providing respectful and transparent communication  
  • Recognising each partners strength, culture and drivers 
  • Valuing our partners as part of our team 
  • Never assume but always seek clarity and confirmation.  

Partnerships and collaborations are core to our ethos. As a small organisation, partnering with individuals and groups towards common goals is vital, and ensures that we integrate, complement, and add value to important conservation work

Some of our partnerships include: 

We are committed to working towards greater collaboration with First Nations peoples in our conservation work and learning about their experience caring for land. In 2021, the NCS engaged a Cultural Liaison Consultant who worked with us to deliver a 4-day on-country workshop with three First Nations groups. This was an important step for Kaurna, Narrunga and Ngarrindjeri people as these groups have a deep cultural connection to Kangaroo Island and a strong desire to implement cultural land management practices on the Island.

Give us a call today if you are interested in partnering with NCS


ADVOCACY (& Campaigns) 

Do you need help bringing attention to a critical nature-based issue 

Advocacy can come in the form of campaigns and submissions. NCS will listen to your concerns and can help you to speak and act for nature either in partnership or we can give you advice on what to do. 

Are you looking for action 

Need to take action and want NCS to get active about a nature conservation and protection issues – send us as email. 

    RESEARCH (& programs) 

    Do you need help understanding the conservation values of your property or how to prioritize your efforts to achieve biodiversity conservation outcomes? 

    We are proud of our experience with undertaking site evaluations to identify what are the existing and potential biodiversity and landscape-scale “values” and working with landholders to ascertain the best management interventions required to maintain or improve these values. We can provide this information as a clear and concise document that is tailored to the need and identified desirable outcome/s.

    Do you need a flora or fauna survey? Or help identifying biodiversity “values” ? 

    With over a hundred surveys and publications on South Australia’s flora, fauna and habitats, NCS have a cohort of experienced field biologists and ecologists that can design and undertaken biological surveys. We also understand that conducting ecological surveys is more than good-science, it’s about providing the evidence for change, and that the results need to be communicated in a way that suits the intended audience and purpose.   

    Do you need to be confident that conservation and biodiversity work is effective and resulting in desirable outcomes? 

    The best way to know if conservation activities are being delivered as intended, or resulting in a demonstrable impact, is to have a robust and tailored Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (ME) framework or plan. Although this can sound complicated, it doesn’t need to be! NCS staff have the skills and experience to support projects and organisations to develop ME structures and processes that are streamlined and efficient.  


    Do you need support to bring community and stakeholders together to achieve conservation outcomes? 

    With our multi-skilled team and experience working with supporting, we can advise on, or implement, meaningful engagement to ensure that there is collective buy-in and support for multi-partner projects and programs.  We know the value of groups and individuals working together and can suggest ways to initiate or strengthen partnerships.  

      Contact us today to see how NCS can work with you