Biodiversity is an abstract concept, attracting various responses from different people according to where they have come from and what ecosystems they have been closely linked to. In theory, most people would agree that protecting biodiversity is an important process, but in practice, few people commit to actions on a local level. This paper explores a situation faced in the Northern Territory where environmental educators seek to engage hearts, hands and minds to protect biodiversity but it is difficult to gain commitment given a diverse and transient community such as exists in Darwin. The survey of 175 tertiary students at Charles Darwin University develops insights into how individuals perceive and name local mangrove and savanna ecosystems, and which areas they would want to conserve. Results have implications for local environmental education. Suggestions are made about how awareness of and actions for biodiversity in the Top End could be extended.