Thousands enjoyed the Autumn sun at this year’s Botanic Gardens Day in Wollongong.

The open day, held last Sunday, drew attention to ecological conservation and diversity.

“The focus of the day is to actually educate people on what the Botanic Gardens are about…on the importance of the conservation efforts that the Botanic Garden actually plays in the broader scheme,” ABC Illawarra Compost Heap radio talkback program host and ambassador for the Botanic Gardens Open Day Wollongong, John Gabriel said.

Wollongong City Council Bush Care Support Officer Greg Fikkers said the Botanic Gardens’ efforts help restore the city’s natural ecological areas.

“Conservation and biodiversity within our local area basically is about conserving our uniqueness, ensuring there isn’t the loss of habitat or endangered ecological communities,” he said.

Mr Gabriel also educated people on Wollongong Garden’s efforts to preserve endangered flora from the threat of urban sprawl.

“One example is a species of plant that is just recently been found in Vincentia called Banksia Vincentia which is an endangered plant, there are only two plants in the wild and they’re now propagating from those plants into here at the Wollongong Botanic Garden,” he said.

“They’ll then be introduced back into the community or that ecological community so that those plants can still thrive in their natural environment.”

The topics were explored through a range of habitat and bush tucker workshops, behind the scenes tours of the gardens, and kids’ activities at the Discovery Centre.

Acting Curator of Wollongong Botanic Gardens Karen Holmes said people support the Botanic Garden’s conservation focus by attending the open days and participating in the workshops,

“Just by visiting the Botanic Garden you are contributing by adding to our visitation which then feeds into our funding and resourcing to further our conservation efforts,” Ms Holmes said.

Mr Gabrielle said the community could also gain a connection with nature and their community by attending the gardens.

“You can come here [and] you can feed the ducks if you wish, but at the same time as you’re walking around if you’re reading the signs on the plants about what they are [and] where they come from, you’re actually learning more too,” he said.

“So what we’re trying to do is get people to connect with the gardens, with the plants, get back to their roots and release their inner botanist.”