Ever had an idea that could change the world?
As a leader in conservation, Taronga Conservation Society Australia works to educate, encourage and empower people to act for the wild and create positive outcomes for wildlife and the environment.
From 2011 to 2017 Taronga awarded $150,000 in Green Grants for innovative conservation ideas that tackle key issues, including plastic pollution and the illegal wildlife trade, and aim to inspire and empower communities to help secure a sustainable future for our planet. In 2020 we launched our next stage of support for environmental innovation – the HATCH: Taronga Accelerator Program.
Read on to learn about past Taronga Green Grant recipients. If you have the next brilliant idea to address a key conservation or environmental challenge, check out the HATCH program page and register your interest to stay up to date.
We look forward to helping you hatch your brilliant idea for the planet!
Past Taronga Green Grant Winners
In 2017, Taronga awarded $30,000 to Seaside Scavenge, a waterway clean-up and clothes swap event where litter collected becomes the currency to purchase quality pre-loved clothes, books and more.
Since receiving the grant, the organisation has accelerated in growth and expanded their long-term goals. With the support of Taronga’s funding they successfully established three more branches (Chapters) in Mornington Peninsula (VIC), Port Macquarie (NSW) and Perth (WA). The Chapters were provided with basic clean-up material, market equipment and signage, and funding to run two events per chapter.
The Mornington Peninsula Chapter has seen particularly exciting growth and the events have created considerable impact. The number of event participants has grown from 200 people in 2017 to 460 people in 2019, and their work has inspired another branch to run events in Frankston. The Port Macquarie Chapter also saw their event participant numbers double from the first event run in 2016, and the Perth Chapter activities have led to a series of councils around Perth engaging Seaside Scavenge to host annual events in their communities.
The Last Straw
In 2017, Taronga awarded $20,000 to The Last Straw, to support their campaign to end the use of plastic straws in café and restaurant venues across Australia by changing individual attitudes and behaviours and promoting the transition to a sustainable alternative.
2018 was their busiest and most successful year yet, and the momentum continued in 2019. Key activities undertaken since receiving the Taronga funding include: leading the world's first 'International Straw Free Day' in partnership with Bas Les Pailles, The Last Straw’s French counterpart; working with the City of Sydney to run the 'Sydney Doesn't Suck' mini campaign; consulting with the ABC’s 'War On Waste' on their 'Straw' segment; and forming a coalition of straw and waste focused organisations for holistic council engagement.
The campaign's engagement effort resulted in 13 million straws been saved by their 474 members in four countries in 2018, as well as almost 1,000 member venues signed on across Australia, in partnership with The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef. The Last Straw has been recognised with founder Eva Mackinley awarded the Foundation for Young Australians Game Changer Award in 2018 and names as a Financial Review Woman of Influence.
Take 3 for the Sea
Winners of the inaugural Taronga Green Grant in 2011, Take 3 for the Sea is a simple community initiative recognising people’s interconnectedness with the sea and empowering everyone to take responsibility for the health of our oceans. Their message and ask is simple – to encourage everyone, to take three pieces of litter with them when they leave the beach, waterway or anywhere they see litter.
Take 3 for the Sea was established in 2009 to “inspire participation in simple actions”. In 2019, we celebrate Take 3’s 10th anniversary, and the success of this campaign that has grown to hosting community events in 129 countries and helped to remove over 10 million pieces of rubbish annually from the environment. Take 3 have also educated and inspired more than 350,000 Australian students at over 400 schools through their school, early childhood and surf lifesaving education programs.
The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade. The illegal wildlife trade is worth an estimated US$23 billion per annum. It is the greatest direct threat to the future of some of the planet’s most iconic species including rhinos, elephants, tigers, pangolins and many more. Even Australian native species including snakes and lizards have been illegally traded.
The Wildlife Witness app was developed by Taronga Conservation Society Australia in partnership with TRAFFIC to empower people to report illegal wildlife trade activities. It is the first global community action tool in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. The smartphone app allows tourists and locals to easily report wildlife trade by taking a photo, pinning the exact location of an incident and sending these important details to TRAFFIC. The reports are collated into a database and analysed by a Wildlife Crime Analyst to identify trends, and credible incidents are referred to enforcement agencies for action.
Since its launch, the App has been downloaded over 15,000 times and has resulted in the reporting and intervention of sales of species such as pangolins, hornbills and slipper orchards across Southeast Asia. Next time you’re travelling, download the app and lend your eyes to the wild.