Port phillip Bay

Empowering leaders to lead with Nature

Regeneration Projects is a small business that sees Nature as our most important stakeholder. We started at a kitchen table during Melbourne’s epic COVID-19 Lockdown, and now we’re a B Corp and Actor in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The Two Bays, A Business & A Kitchen Table Podcast (Two Bays Podcast for short) explores stories of hope, grit and determination, inspiring the Planet’s next generation of ecological leaders.

The podcast is co-hosted by workmates Matt Sykes (the Aussie founder of Regeneration Projects) and Claire Wild (a Kiwi consultant with a shared passion for positive change). The pair met at an online event in 2020 and have been sparking conversations that balance practical lessons and unapologetically bold visions ever since.

Nature as a business partner

Named after Melbourne’s two iconic Bays – Port Phillip and Western Port (known to Kulin First Peoples as Nairm and Warn Marin or Marin Biik) – the podcast is a ‘shout out’ to the ecosystems upon which all businesses around the Planet depend. We’re just starting in our own backyard!

But how did we come to see Nature as a stakeholder and a business partner?

  1. Matt grew up around farmers in Gippsland, proactively caring for waterways
  2. Matt studied environmental science in his landscape architecture degree
  3. Matt’s been learning from First Nations Elders for the past 17 years.

When COVID-19 localised our life, daily patterns of behaviour that connected to Nature (like short walks to the Bay and recording videos for social media) formed habits, which became part of our business DNA. Now it’s normal for us.

Changing climate anxiety into climate hope

Choosing a career that tackles environmental issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution can be incredibly rewarding but also super tough. When we listen to the stories of passionate and pioneering professionals, it stokes our inner fire and belief, so that we can keep doing the work to benefit future generations. That’s what the Two Bays Podcast all about!

Why do we care so much?

Back in September 2019, Matt joined a colleague at the Schools Strike for Climate that saw over 100,000 people take to the streets of Melbourne to put pressure on decision-makers about climate action. He saw the anger and anxiety in the faces of young people, and felt similarly himself. So, around that time, Matt made decision that would change his life … he quit his job, flew to California to meet the Head of Environmental Initiatives at Patagonia, Rick Ridegway. “It was like meeting Yoda, I was seeking answers and he just put up a ‘mirror’. Oh, I thought, it’s up to me!”. Six months later when COVID-19 Lockdown took ahold, Matt started a consultancy grounded in an ecological mindset. The Podcast continues this story.

Series 2: 10 Steps towards a swimmable Birrarung – Two bays x Yarra Riverkeeper Association & RMIT

Could a Birrarung / Yarra River Swimming Trail between Deep Rock in Abbotsford and Port Phillip Bay be a breakthrough for Melbourne’s climate resilience?

The Two Bays ’10 Steps towards a swimmable Birrarung / Yarra River’ has been produced by Regeneration Projects in partnership with the Yarra Riverkeeper Association and RMIT University. It’s designed to demystify misconceptions (like: why is the Yarra brown?) and spark new conversations about climate resilience, mental health and urban design. Episode 1 sets from the outset, sharing the stories of a group of intrepid women who started swimming in the Yarra during COVID-19 and an architect who built a sauna in his parent’s backyard as a Lockdown project. Listeners meander through an invigorating journey of discovery, tracing the realms of community housing, ultramarathon running, water law, landscape architecture, environmental advocacy, climate tech and education.

You will never see the Birrarung / Yarra River in the same way ever again!

Project Team (left to right): Adam Dinh-Vu (Co-Producer & Intern, RMIT Media program), Matt Sykes (Series Host & Co-Producer), Janet Bolitho (President, Yarra Riverkeeper Association & Series partner) and Mark Wai Cheng (Co-Producer & Intern, RMIT Media program).

Birrarung / Yarra River Swimming Trail concept: Published in Regeneration Projects’ Swimmable Cities Handbook, 2023.

Series 1: Climate Action – Two Bays x Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

“Like in many regions across Australia where business depends so much on nature, the risks of climate change are real. That’s why the amazing guests on the Two Bays Podcast are so important – golf course managers, adventure tour operators, sunscreen makers, restaurant owners and school principals – they give us more hope for a climate-safe future.”

Funded by a Mornington Peninsula Shire Climate Action grant, this podcast series spotlights local founders, CEOs, managers and employees who are creating examples of practical climate actions that other businesses can replicate and scale. From renewable energy to food composting, revegetation, waste reduction, recycling, eco-certifications, education programs and more.

Set on Boonwurrung / Bunurong Country, the Two Bays series spotlights climate-active business champions and seeks to empower other business owners to reduce carbon emissions. In each episode local climate champions share their stories and practical tips on reducing carbon emissions.

Climate Action, Where Two Bays Meet

Dive into the heart of climate action on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula with the first episode of the Two Bays Podcast’s ‘Climate Action’ series.

Hosts Matt Sykes and Claire Wild are joined by local champions Mel Barker (CEO of Western Port Biosphere) and Tom Hiney (Co-Founder & CEO of Sunbutter Skincare).

Whether you’re a founder, manager, employee or conscious customer, these insights about small steps leading to big impacts will motivate you to get started or take even bolder steps in your impact journey.

Climate Action, Family & Revillaging

Meet entrepreneurs Josh and Narelle Melnick, a dynamic couple who, through the Revillaging Project, are not just dreaming of a sustainable future; they’re building it. The Melnicks openly share their startup journey of creating a space where wellness experiences and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.

Whether you’re thinking of starting a new business or seeking fresh new ways to develop an existing organisation, these examples will motivate you to get started or take even bolder steps in your impact journey.

Climate Action & Community Power

In episode three, Matt and Claire meet Ralph Kenyon, the Co-Convenor and reluctant Retiree who is leveraging his wealth of experience for Flinders Zero Carbon Community Inc., which is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Ralph’s story demonstrates how committed communities can indeed change the world, offering insights and practical tips for others to emulate. Tune in for an inspiring discussion on community-led innovation in climate action and what it could mean for your local neighbourhood!

Meet the Co-hosts

Matt Sykes
Founder & Chief Regen Officer, Regeneration Projects

Matt grew up at the intersection of Boonwurrung and Gunaikurnai Country in the rolling hills of Gippsland in Victoria, Australia. His professional background includes strategic consultancy, landscape architecture, environmental advocacy and tourism development.

Learning from First Nations Elders as well as Western eco-pioneers has shaped Matt’s unique approach to business and leadership. He has the ability to move between big systems-level thinking and grassroots localised action, always looking for a practical starting point and clearly communicating the steps forward.

Claire Wild
Senior Consultant, Edge Impact

With a background in strategic planning, Claire is currently exploring how her clients can push beyond sustainability and explore what regeneration could mean for their organisation. She spends much of her working week as a Senior Consultant in Edge Impact’s Sustainability Transformation team.

Throughout her career, Claire has worked with a diverse range of organisations across Australia and Aotearoa – from small-scale, not-for-profits, and social enterprises to large government departments and corporations. This breadth of experience has allowed her to build a deep understanding of the relationship between social, environmental and economic impacts.

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