Conservation and Wildlife

Darebin’s natural heritage comprises flora, fauna and geological features that are of local, regional, state or national significance. Natural heritage in Darebin forms part of a precious wider web, and its nurture and survival brings a range of benefits to both current and future generations as well as having its own intrinsic value.

We work alongside others in our community to protect natural heritage, this includes local Aboriginal groups, Management Committees, Friends groups and land owners.   

What is Council's Natural Heritage Strategy about?

The Natural Heritage Strategy 2015-2025 describes our plans to protect and enhance Darebin’s natural heritage sites over the next 10 years. It builds on the 2011 Natural Heritage Plan which was part of the development of a wider Heritage Study for planning purposes.  It provides the status of land ownership and management across Darebin’s key natural heritage sites as well as planning controls, policies and management plans affecting natural heritage. 

The Natural Heritage Strategy describes key issues affecting natural heritage. It also outlines over 60 actions to address these issues and meet our vision of Darebin as a place where natural heritage is valued and nurtured. We will work together with land managers and the wider community to achieve this vision.

Why do we have a Natural Heritage Strategy?

We want to ensure that our natural heritage sites are recognised, valued and protected. Darebin has a wealth of natural heritage for a metropolitan Council including:

  • 51 sites of local significance
  • 24 sites of regional significance
  • 2 sites of regional-state significance
  • 34 sites of state significance
  • 2 sites of regional-national significance; and
  • 26 sites of national significance.

 We want to protect and enhance these areas through our own practices and policies, through working with the community and other land owners.

 What does the Natural Heritage Strategy include?

The Natural Heritage Strategy includes a range of actions across four main areas:

  • Knowing about Natural Heritage.
  • Caring for Natural Heritage.
  • Working with land owners, managers and groups.
  • Community engagement and education.

View the Darebin Natural Heritage Strategy 2015-25

Want to know more about natural heritage in Darebin?

To celebrate Darebin's precious natural heritage, we've made a film that showcases some of our significant natural heritage sites, see below. The film demonstrates the commitment of many in our community to valuing and protecting our natural heritage areas, and looks to raise awareness of the natural beauty right here on our doorstep. Email for more information about the natural heritage strategy, film or other related issues.

Significant natural heritage sites in Darebin

There are a number of local Conservation Bushland sites that provide protection for our precious native plants and animals.

Darebin is home to more than 179 species of significant plants and animals. We work to protect and enhance remnant local native and indigenous vegetation. We have 39 conservation bushland sites within Darebin, which is a whopping 24% of the total open space in the municipality!

Key Conservation Areas Include:

You can find local conservation areas near you on our Sustainable Darebin Map.

If you are interested improving the natural environment get involved in one of the Friends of Groups in Darebin

Further Information

Bushland Management Team
Ph: 8470 8888

Darebin is home to many native birds and wildlife. These animals are an important part of our biodiversity and residents are encouraged to help respect and protect them.

Our native birds and wildlife face many threats including: 

  • Feeding of bread or other food which they wouldn't normally eat
  • Loss of habitat from development and damage
  • Pest animals including rabbits, foxes and Indian Myna bird
  • Stray domestic animals such as dogs and cats that prey on them
  • Waste and water pollution poisoning their environments
  • The risk of being hit by cars and other vehicles
  • Climate Change - affecting their health, habitat and food supplies

How you can help

  • Don't feed native birds or wildlife bread or other foods which they wouldn't normally eat
  • Plant native and indigenous plants in your garden to attract wildlife, including birds and bees
  • Increase the number of trees with hollows for native animals to nest in, or install a nesting box
  • Alert us if you notice feral foxes, rabbit or other pests, particularly where our native wildlife live
  • Minimise use of garden chemicals and pesticides. Some leave a residue that is toxic to native animals
  • Don’t let your cats wander the streets and make sure dogs are only off leash in specified ‘off-leash’ parks and reserves

    Indian Myna Bird
    The Common or Indian Myna, identified by its yellow beak and eye patch, and brown body, is an introduced pest bird and their population is spreading rapidly. Two organisations are running control programs in Darebin:

    How Can You Help?

    • Don’t leave food scraps or pet food/bones outside
    • Ensure that rubbish bins and other potential food sources are completely covered
    • Don’t feed birds in your backyard
    • Block potential nest sites, such as holes in roofs or gutters and remove any Myna nests you find in nest boxes or tree hollows on your property
    • Ensure that you have self-closing doors and flyscreens to prevent Myna birds from entering your house
    • Get involved with your own trapping and disposal program, or start a community trapping program


    Darebin’s Gardens for Wildlife pilot program will launch in late 2020.

    The program is a partnership between Council, Darebin Nature Trust and community members to engage residents to create a habitat gardens for local wildlife. Darebin's Gardens for Wildlife program aims to increase appreciation for biodiversity and to inspire community members to create space for nature in our city.

    How will the program work?

    The free program will offer a garden visit to local residents from trained volunteer garden guides. The guides will provide encouragement and guidance on how to provide habitat for wildlife through gardening on private property. Whether you have a big backyard, a small courtyard, a community garden or pot plants on your balcony, everyone can help promote urban biodiversity. A limit of 20 gardens will be included in the pilot program.

    Volunteer Garden Guides: Garden Guides are made up of volunteers who are passionate about the conservation of our indigenous plants and animals. Volunteers will be trained by Gardens for Wildlife Victoria staff in assessing and providing feedback on creating habitat in different spaces. This volunteer opportunity is a great way to meet and connect with other people interested in conservation and local biodiversity.

    Having your garden assessed: Darebin residents will need to register to have their garden assessed. Once you have registered, Gardens for Wildlife garden guides will visit your property at an allocated time to provide advice and suggestions on how you can make your garden more wildlife-friendly, increase habitat and food sources.

    You will receive a written assessment listing your garden’s native and indigenous plants, and suggestions and plant recommendations to increase your garden’s biodiversity. You will also receive ten indigenous plants from a local indigenous nursery, a letterbox sticker to help promote the program to your neighbours and access to the Gardens for Wildlife Victoria network.

    How to get involved

    If you would like to have your garden assessed – please complete the Household Expression of Interest Form. Please note that due to high demand for our first round of assessments there is a waiting list. Please continue to fill out the form and we will be in contact about the program and upcoming habitat gardening workshops. 

    If you would like to be a volunteer garden guide – please get in contact by emailing and we will be in touch.

    For more information on the program visit

    Whether you’re passionate about nature and conservation, want to learn more about local flora and fauna or love exploring outdoors with like-minded people, there are a range of community programs in Darebin you can get involved with.

    Here are just some of the ways you can get involved in Darebin:

    • Create habitat in your garden. Grow a diversity of crops and flowering plants for our bees and pollinators, and use alternatives to pesticides and herbicides. Find more information by downloading our Sustainable Gardening in Darebin Booklet or visit the Sustainable Gardening Australia website. If you would like to source local and indigenous plants for your garden, or need assistance choosing plant species, visit a local indigenous plant nursery. Find a list of suppliers here.
    • Organise a litter clean-up in your neighbourhood. Council supports community members who safely collect litter within Darebin. Both the Merri Creek and Darebin Creek have active clean up groups you can join. If you would like to organise your own clean up, visit the Friends of Merri Creek Community Clean Up page to find safety information, access to equipment and to register your event.

    • Volunteer with one of the many Friends Of Groups in Darebin and learn from our local conservation heroes. Friends of Groups are a great way to get involved in nature and connect with other people who are passionate about conserving our local environment. Volunteering might involve hand weeding, planting, building nest boxes, litter clean ups and assisting with monitoring and surveys. They’re also a great way to build your flora and fauna identification skills.

    • Explore and protect your local area. There are a number of parks, reserves and waterways with natural heritage in Darebin that are open to the public. When visiting, make sure to only take photos, take your rubbish with you when you leave and never touch or feed wildlife.

    Participate in Citizen Science

    There are a range of state-wide citizen science programs you can get involved in and contribute to. Data you collect may help scientists monitor wildlife populations or long-term changes in ecosystems.

    Waterwatch Program
    There are six volunteer-run Waterwatch groups across the Merri and Darebin Creeks. These groups help monitor water quality, collect data and assess local habitat to help provide a better understanding of our waterways' long-term health. 

    Monitoring groups are provided with specialised training and receive ongoing support from their Waterwatch Coordinator to develop and implement their own monitoring program. Information collected by these groups is made available to Melbourne Water, the EPA and local councils to help identify what can be done at a local level to improve our rivers and creeks. Training is free and sessions are conducted regularly.

    Get involved by contacting our local Waterwatch Coordinator.

    Melbourne Waters Frog Census
    Darebin is home to over ten frog species. Frogs play an important role in the waterway ecosystem and are easily affected by changes to their environment. You can get involved in Melbourne Waters Frog Census by downloading the app and recording the frog calls you hear in your neighbourhood. This community frog monitoring program helps collect data to manage frog populations and raise awareness of waterway health issues.

    Click here to find more information and to download the app.

    Birdlife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count
    The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is an activity for all-ages that involves observing and counting the birds that live near you – whether that’s in your garden, the local park, the creek or just around your local neighbourhood. 

    By recording the birds you’ve seen within a 20-minute period, you will help BirdLife Australia develop an understanding of local birds, whilst getting to know the wildlife on your doorstep! 

    The count takes place in October each year. Go to the Birdlife Australia website for more information on how to get involved and exact dates.

    Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary

    The Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary at La Trobe University (Bundoora) provides a unique and valuable education and community facility in Melbourne's north, consisting of a 30-hectare open range sanctuary for indigenous species of flora and fauna that flourished in the area prior to European settlement.  

    The sanctuary's vision is to provide a natural bushland environment for conservation, education and research activities, and provide transformative experiences for the Melbourne community.  

    There is also an indigenous plant nursery at the sanctuary, which was established to grow and build the seed stocks of indigenous flora in the region and enhance the biodiversity of the local landscape. It also stocks custom built nest boxes for local animals such as possums, parrots and sugar gliders. 

    Beyond a visit to the sanctuary grounds and the nursery, there also an array of volunteering opportunities for those interested in the conservation of local indigenous flora and fauna.  Go to the Nangak Wildlife Sanctuary website for more information and opening hours.