I spent the whole month of December in beautiful Melbourne Australia. While there I have collected all sorts of bits and pieces about sustainability on the big island which I will be sharing over the next few weeks on this blog.

One of my favourite things about Australia are the animals and the place to see all of them in one afternoon is Healesville Sanctuary just outside of Melbourne. The Sanctuary is home to more than 200 species of Australian wildlife including kangaroos, platypus, koalas, emus, the famous Tasmanian Devils and many more. They have many important education and conservation projects as well as an Australian wildlife health centre which cares for over 1500 injured or orphaned wild animals a year. They are also involved in several breading and release programs for critically endangered species.

Most of all, it is a fantastic place to spend the day and to see some of the wonderfully unique animals that are only found in this country.

The Sanctuary has a very obvious commitment to sustainability, in particular the environment but rather than tell us themselves, they have trained the birds to do the ‘talking’. During the parrots in flight demonstration given to the public during the day they have actually trained the parrots to show visitors how to recycle the maps, by putting them into any one of the green bins at the entrance/exit so that staff can then reuse them. A couple of galahs (fancy Aussie birds) show visitors how to separate waste into the recycling and waste bins by picking up paper and candy wrappers and putting them into the right bin. Despite what it might sound like, it is actually quite effective!

As I am always looking out for eco-labels on everything that is handed to me, I wasn’t disappointed to find one on the Sanctuary map (100% waste paper of course) which is given out to all visitors at the entrance. It has a prominent logo on the back stating that the Healesville Sanctuary is an advanced EcoTourism destination. According to Ecotourism Australia this is given to:
logo for EcoTourism Australia

Australia’s leading and most innovative ecotourism products, providing an opportunity to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to achieving best practice when using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.” Advanced is the highest award given www.ecotourism.org.au

For more on Healesville Sanctuary visit www.zoo.org.au. If you plan a trip over there make sure you grab a meat (or veggie) pie and a vanilla slice from one of the award winning bakeries in town.