Creating the bird sanctuary


The development of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary is applying a new model of innovative engagement. This model is Collective Impact and has been used in the United States to bring about positive social change in environmental projects such as one undertaken in the Elizabeth River and a recent project developed for protecting the Amazon in Brazil.

Collective Impact is a framework for facilitating and achieving large scale change and goes beyond the process of community consultation. It provides a structured and disciplined approach to bringing cross-sector organisations together and formalising these partnerships. The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary has done this by forming a leadership roundtable coined ‘The Collective’. 

Significant long-term work is being undertaken by the group through a continuous process of ‘planning and doing’ grounded in constant evidence-based feedback around what is or is not working. Through engaging with data and stories, people get to explore each other’s perspectives, thereby developing a shared understanding. This process itself builds engagement, respect and trust. The Bird Sanctuary Collective will sustain the engagement of a broad range of community members and lead to large scale impact for the bird sanctuary.

See the minutes from the latest collective roundtable meetings (if you would like to view earlier meeting minutes please contact


Broader ecological benefits of the proposal, including a cleaner, more livable city, and improved water quality in the gulf, will enhance the quality of life for all South Australians. Creating a green corridor that supports a healthy environment will improve air quality, water quality and amenity – benefits that will extend beyond the reserve boundary. 

The creation of the sanctuary will also provide green infrastructure that will help protect against sea level rise and storm surges, while supporting the livability and sustainability of residential development in northern Adelaide. The bird sanctuary will also boost the state’s tourism industry by attracting bird enthusiasts from around the world and also provide opportunities to respect Indigenous knowledge and involve Aboriginal people in the development of the sanctuary. 

For more information, read the proposal for the creation of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary.

Who - bringing people together

People are driving the establishment of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary through a new way of working together and achieving shared outcomes – an approach called Collective Impact.

This approach recognises that many people have a role to play in making an impact for things that matter, in this case protecting shorebirds and creating opportunities for people.

Collaborating for a better future depends on genuine community participation in decision-making throughout the design, implementation and ongoing management of the bird sanctuary.

Using a Collective Impact approach has created an innovative leadership group, ‘The Collective’, which is currently a partnership of 35 groups, people and organisations that are creating a shared vision for the bird sanctuary and the communities around it.

The Collective has provided strategic leadership and a representative voice for local, state and national communities. It is not a committee; it is a coming together for action.

The Collective has defined a vision and four focus areas for long term sustainable action for the bird sanctuary that everyone agrees will make the sanctuary a success for people. The focus areas delivering this vision are:

Focus area one: Establish and sustain the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary Protected Area for native species, in particular migratory shorebirds and species that are endangered.

Focus area two: Facilitate opportunities to stimulate the local and state economy through activating economic pathways while protecting the range of ecosystem, recreational and cultural services that the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary provides.

Focus area three: Enhance the wellbeing of visitors to the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary by creating places for people to engage with, be active, explore, learn about nature and share experiences with other people.

Focus area four: Cultivate partnerships locally and across the globe to share scientific and cultural knowledge and support the growing movement of global flyway conservation.

Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary Plan

Download a pdf version of the AIBS Collective Plan.

How Collective Impact works 

The Collective works together to feed information and expertise into the bird sanctuary initiative and then back out into their communities. Take a look at the video below on how Collective Impact works.