When April 24, 2023 at 6:00pm 2 hrs
Where Lennox Hotel, Seven Mile Room (Upstairs) Pacific Parade and Byron Street, Lennox Head, NSW 2478, Australia
Contact Kiri Dicker [email protected] 0419493898
This event is nearing capacity, if it says "sold out" please email [email protected] to be placed on the waiting list. Only those on the guest list will be admitted to the event. 

Critical Conversations is a free public seminar series exploring issues that matter in the Ballina Shire. Events will bring together technical experts and local changemakers to discuss ideas and identify opportunities for reform and advocacy. The initiative is intended to increase evidence-based dialogue and community engagement on local government issues.

A critical conversation about the impact of 4WDs on beach ecosystems

Accessing the beach in a 4WD is seen by many as a right in modern Australian culture. However, as our coastal communities experience burgeoning growth in the wake of the COVD pandemic and more people than ever are purchasing a 4WD, the practice has come under increasing scrutiny by beach users and environmental advocates.

Decades of evidence demonstrating detrimental impacts of 4WDs to beach biodiversity has been slow to influence mainstream policy debate, with reforms remaining reactive and divisive within communities.

In this first seminar, a panel of experts and local changemakers will have a critical conservation about the future of 4WDing on Ballina Shire beaches, including:

  • What is the impact of 4WDs on beach ecosystems?
  • Is there a sustainable threshold for vehicles on beaches?
  • What strategies have been successful is affecting policy reform?
  • How can we craft an effective narrative for beach conservation?

This will be followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience.


Dr Thomas Schlacher: Professor of Marine Science, University of the Sunshine Coast

Dr Schlacher is a global expert in how sandy beach ecosystems work and how they can be conserved for future generations. The focus of his research is on the environmental effects of human activities, and the strategies that are most effective in conserving vulnerable and irreplaceable features of the natural environment. 

Megan Ward: Scientist and Environmental Storyteller

A published author and entrepreneur, Megan is driven by her passion for social and environmental justice and equity. She wears many hats, including scientist, yogini, counsellor and environmental advocate. Megan was instrumental behind the NSW State Government’s decision to close South Ballina Beach to 4WDs in 2021 and protect critical habitat for the endangered Pied Oyster Catcher.

More speakers to be announced…

Reserve your free ticket!