Media Release


Werribee Open Range Zoo Grasslands Celebrated following Earthwatch Citizen Science Award



Greening Australia, the winners of the 2011 Earthwatch Rio Tinto Prize for Citizen Science, joined representives of Earthwatch Australia, Wyndham City Council and the Werribee Open Range Zoo, at the Zoo this morning to celebrate the award.


Earthwatch founder Brian Rosborough relaxes in the grasslands at a special celebration at the Werribee Open Range Zoo with left: Gary Topp, CEO Greening Australia; Paul Gibson Roy, Greening Australia; Sally Lewis, Director, Zoos Victoria; Richard Gilmore, Executive Director, Earthwatch Australia; Cr. John Menegazzo, Mayor, Wyndham City Council and Peter Sullivan Curator of Horticulture

The award was announced at the Earthwatch Oceania Gala 40th birthday celebration last night.

The award winning Greening Australia project is aimed at protecting and restoring species-rich native wildflower grasslands that once covered large areas of south-eastern Australia. Greening Australia has partnered with Werribee Open Range Zoo since 2004, the Zoo being one of 13 original Grassy Groundcover Research Project (GGRP) experimental sites.

This project sought to create 1 hectare of species-rich grassland to be used to house and breed the critically endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot. When complete visitors will not only be able to view this rare Victorian marsupial, but will also be able to admire the beauty represented by the wildflower grassland.


United support for the grasslands project at the Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Richard Gilmore, Executive Director of Earthwatch Australia said the award recognises an individual or group whose outstanding environmental research directly involves, educates and inspires the Australian community.

"Greening Australia's Grassy Groundcover Research Project (GGRP) was an outstanding example of what can be achieved when the community and scientists work together."

Mr Gilmore also acknowledged the support of Rio Tinto which made the award possible

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Earthwatch Communications - Mobile: 0417 329 201