Recently Kirsty and Chantel met with Jo Smith, the Care For Hedland Coordinator, to talk about how Industry supports and encourages incredible incentives such as this program and what is actually involved. Jo has been with Care For Hedland for the past two years and has seen huge community support for the locally run programs.

In conjunction with their principal partner BHP, individuals and corporations can support Care For Hedland with annual memberships. Many of PHIC’s members are corporate members of Care For Hedland and have Adopted a Turtle. PHIC has also joined the ranks as a corporate supporter this year.


The Care for Hedland Environmental Association aims to connect people and the environment to create a more sustainable, inclusive and environmentally-aware town. This is achieved through delivering a diverse range of conservation-based volunteer programs and activities for the Hedland community, which are suitable for all ages and levels of commitment.

Care For Hedland’s programs are divided into four key areas:

1. Flatback sea turtle monitoring

2. Recycling and waste prevention

3. Gardening and sustainable living

4. Education and advocacy

The Association acts as an effective conduit for the communication of environmental and sustainability information into the community and provides a forum whereby business, industry, government and community can discuss barriers, opportunities and solutions to sustainable development for Hedland and the Pilbara.

Care For Hedland was established in 2003 and has gone from strength to strength, from humble beginnings with just a handful of volunteers, to multiple staff members and a huge volunteer base spanning across the Pilbara and the rest of the world. The Association has won a range of awards, most recently the Litter Prevention and Waste Management category of the 2018 State Tidy Towns Awards and Environmental Sustainability category of the 2016 State Tidy Towns Awards, as well as winner of the 2016 Australian Clean Beaches Awards (Cemetery Beach) in the Environmental Sustainability category and finalist overall, among many other prestigious awards over the years.

Care For Hedland’s long-time principal partner is BHP, who have supported the Association since 2006 and without whose support, many programs would not be possible.


Care For Hedland’s community-based turtle monitoring program was established in 2004 to provide a much-needed role for the awareness and conservation of the local threatened Flatback sea turtle species Natator depressus. The presence of Flatback turtles in Hedland gives a unique opportunity for the community and visitors to the area to be actively involved in contributing to the monitoring of the protected species. In 2010, Care For Hedland won the WA Environment Biodiversity Conservation Award for the Flatback Turtle Monitoring Program.

The Hedland turtle monitoring program operates from November to March each year in correlation with the annual Flatback migration to the coastline for the nesting and hatching seasons (nesting season: November – January and hatchling season: December – March).

The program uses a non-invasive approach to obtain monitoring data through conducting early morning beach patrols assessing turtle tracks and sand patterns. Laid and hatched nest locations are recorded using a GPS and additional turtle and predator activity is documented. This data is sent to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and joins a state-wide database which helps scientists to build a picture of Flatback turtle populations and nesting behaviour.

Volunteers are always welcome on the beach and many travel from across the country or the world to take part each year!


Originally started by the Association, Hedland Garden Club is for anyone with a passion for gardening and an interest in helping to make the local town a more vibrant place to live. Workshops and gardening-related events are generally held during dry season – the best time for growing most plants in the Pilbara – at the RSL Community Garden on Hedditch Street, South Hedland. The Association aim is to promote healthy living through gardening, growing fresh produce at home and spending time outdoors.


Thanks to a great partnership with Toxfree/PTES/Cleanaway, the Association has successfully run a monthly Recycle Day since 2013, where skip bins are dropped off for two hours on the second Saturday of each month. This allows Port and South Hedland residents to bring their recycling to a central location in town and deposit recycling, thereby keeping landfill to a minimum and contributing to a circular economy.

Two clean ups are held every month in Hedland, as part of Keep Australia Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Spot initiative. These run on the third and fourth Saturdays of every month and make a big impact in keeping the town clean, tidy and free from litter. The Association also participates in large-scale clean up events such as Clean Up Australia Day, Great Northern Clean Up and the WA Marine Debris Project, among others.

Most recently, the Association has increased its promotion of reusables instead of single-use plastic products, which pollute land and waterways, negatively impact wildlife (particularly turtles and seabirds), and never break down.


Care for Hedland has a primary objective to raise awareness of local environmental issues of the Hedland township as well as the surrounding Pilbara region. Communicating directly with government, businesses, industries and the whole community is a priority of the Association, to ensure that environmental goals for Hedland are achieved. The Association hosts a range of informative training sessions and workshops for the community to be involved in to learn about particular environmental issues of the town (gardening workshops, turtle monitoring training, recycling and litter prevention).

The education program is strongly concerned with educating children and students who are the future of Hedland. These programs target pre-schoolers through to high school students through story-telling, presentations and competitions and we hope to further engage and integrate beneficial activities with students in the future.