By Shelby Brooks

ON the back of National Threatened Species Day yesterday (Monday, September 7), Inverloch resident Lauren Burns is hoping to raise awareness for the 58 nationally listed threatened species that call Bass Coast home.

Lauren is a volunteer for the Australian Conservation Foundation and wanted to bring a “big problem and bring it to a local level”.

She said although at times threatened species can feel “irrelevant” to everyday life, humans actually rely on the “complex tapestry” of animals and plants in many ways.

“The bushfires saw problems arise with quality of clean air. We need clean water [and] farmers need pollinators,” Lauren said.

“In lockdown, people are going for more walks around the house so it shows that greenspaces are important for mental health and wellbeing as well.”

Animals such as birds and mammals and many plant species are among the 58 threatened species that can be found in Bass Coast.

Although Australia has the most mammal extinctions than any other nation, Lauren believes Bass Coast has many outstanding examples of community-driven conservation such as the South Gippsland Conservation Society and its work at Screw Creek and the Friends of Wonthaggi Healthland and eight other community groups that together planted 7000 trees and 12,000 wetland plants to transform the Rifle Range.

This October, Lauren said she hopes people will vote for local candidates in the Bass Coast Shire Council election that give environmental issues a platform.