Sydney Airport’s First Nations approach to Wetlands restoration recognised by Airports Council International

Thursday 23 May 2024

Sydney Airport has received an Airports Council International Green Airports Recognition 2024 – Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions award for a project to bring back Country to the wetlands.

This recognition highlights the work of our partner, Indigenous land care experts, Wildflower, in restoring the wetlands and enhancing biodiversity around Mill Pond, Engine Ponds, and Mill Stream.

By using a First Nations approach to bush regeneration, the Wildflower team is rejuvenating the environment by removing noxious weeds, planting thousands of native species, and collecting native seeds for propagation.

Wildflower is an Aboriginal-owned social enterprise dedicated to creating Indigenous green spaces and empowering the community with sustainable employment.

ACI Green Airports Recognition Award trophy with Wildflower

Jake Atkins, Sydney Airport General Manager of Environment and Sustainability, said: “We are proud to be increasing the biodiversity of the wetlands while supporting our partner, Wildflower, in its mission to provide meaningful and culturally safe employment to young people in the Indigenous community.

“It’s an honour to have the Airports Council International recognise this project and the incredible work our partner, Wildflower, is doing to bring biodiversity back to Sydney Airport’s wetlands,” he said.

The Wildflower team is undertaking studies in conservation and utilising this project to complete the practical elements of the Certificate III in On Country Aboriginal Land Management.

Roman Deguchi, Co-founder and Director of Wildflower, said: “We’re grateful to Sydney Airport as they have been an important part of Wildflower’s growth. By partnering with Wildflower, the airport is contributing to the empowerment of our community.”

“Wildflower’s ethos is to bring Country back to urban spaces by working with the land, not against it.
Our vision is to live in a world where Aboriginal knowledge and culture is valued. We’re thrilled that this important work has been recognised, but most importantly, this award is really uplifting for our crew members.”

To further fund bush regeneration in the wetlands, last year Wildflower received a $50,000 community grant from IFM Investors, one of Sydney Airport’s owner groups.

In August last year, this project also won the Heritage, Culture, and Community Spirit Award in the 2023 Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Sustainable Cities Awards.