Gio Positioning - A local naturalist keeping an eye on the planet
Gio Fitzpatrick (OW2014) is an urban ecologist and conservationist who brings a sense of curiosity to all of his significant work in sustainability and environmental preservation.
In 2013, Gio photographed a Marine Spider, marking the second recorded sighting in Victoria, the first being at San Remo in 1902! His spider find occurred a month or so after he spotted a Great White Shark off Elwood beach.
In 2016, Gio won the Sustainable Cities Young Leader award from the United Nations Association of Australia for his fantastic work in urban biodiversity and environmental conservation. One of his proudest moments was meeting his hero, Sir David Attenborough and receiving personal written praise from him.
Gio helps to run educational programs as a Youth Wildlife Ambassador for Port Phillip EcoCentre, where he facilitates biodiversity surveys, workshops, walks and informational sessions. EcoCentre is a not-for-profit, community-managed environment group located in the corner of St Kilda Gardens. For over 20 years, it has provided a base for affiliate groups involved in activities that promote environmental sustainability and community action.
He also conducts biodiversity research on wildlife and plant species across Port Philip. Gio was fascinated by the natural environment even as a small child, and while still at school, he began an unofficial program of installing nest boxes which was eventually approved and taken up by the local council and wider community. Some species faced localised extinction in many Melbourne suburbs, including St Kilda, Elwood and Elsternwick; his initiative turned this around in his local area almost immediately.
Recently featured on Gardening Australia on the ABC, Gio said, ‘It concerns me that living in cities… there’s a risk of alienation from nature. What would make me happy is people noticing the beauty and the excitement of what’s around them, and then taking action to make sure it’s looked after. This is what I live and breathe, and I can see myself being involved with it throughout my life.’
You can watch Gardening Australia’s My Garden Path - Gio Fitzpatrick here: https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/ factsheets/my-garden-path---giofitzpatrick/13543634