Understanding community participation in urban conservation

By: Michael Fox

Understanding the motivations and challenges of community members already engaged in creating urban wildlife habitat, is a valuable step in building communications strategies to drive behaviour change across the broader community. Therefore, Jake Slinger’s university research thesis Understanding community participation in urban conservation is a valuable resource for our aim of registering 30,000 Brisbane Pollinator Link® to create over 800 hectares of city wide wildlife habitat.

The research was conducted by questionnaire sent to 276 community members who currently received the Pollinator Link® newsletter with participants limited to the Greater Brisbane region.

What lives in your backyard?

The top three motivations identified for creating habitat gardens are:

• General environmental interest: a general interest or concern for nature.
• Interest in flora/fauna: motivated by learning about flora and fauna.
• Inspired by others: motivated by friends and family and/or events.

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Challenges of providing resources for pollinators include some hard to fix factors like Council regulation. However, participants suggestions point to a range of action we can take to engage and empower community members to create wildlife habitat in their backyard or on their balcony garden.

Engaging kids by helping them learn to see interesting butterflies, beetles and bugs then be citizen scientists recording their finds in iNaturalist.

Help SEQ gardeners learn to Plant Local to Feed Locals with free GroNative app for smartphones. GroNative allows uses to input postcode and suburb to identify plants that originally grew in that area.

We have a list of community nurseries that typically stock local natives however the research suggests we need to promote this more aggressively.

Helping people think differently about their gardens will help address “societal dilemmas” like balancing what looks good to neighbours versus what is good for pollinators: rather than have a scrubby untidy backyard build a unique garden feature that provides safe shelter and food for small birds.

About Mt Gravatt Environment Group

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is restoring a unique piece of Australain native bushland only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.
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