FairyWren GeoffParkWildlife gardening is a great way to involve communities in nature and conservation. To be effective at a landscape level, there needs to be enthusiastic participation from private homeowners as well as public land managers and community groups.

CEED researchers Laura Mumaw (PhD candidate) and Professor Sarah Bekessy at RMIT University have published new research that investigated how best to involve residents in wildlife gardening and align their work with public land management.

They looked at how a partnership between a local council (Knox City Council) and community group (Knox Environment Society – KES) in greater Melbourne involves residents in gardening to help conserve the biota native to the municipality.

What they found was that the program features instrumental in motivating people and supporting wildlife gardening are:

  • an inspiring, face-to-face garden assessment;
  • a community nursery to which members can return to for advice and support;
  • communication hubs, including the nursery and Council offices;
  • a framework that fosters experiential learning and community linkages;
  • and endorsement by Council and KES of each garden’s potential conservation contribution.

In part informed by research from this study, a pilot program, Gardens for Wildlife Victoria, has been initiated to support urban local government-community group partnerships to engage local residents in caring for nature through gardening and other habitat-improvement activities. A consortium that includes the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), a regional catchment management authority, and local government and community group members has been established to lead the initiative. Their intent is to help make Victoria’s new biodiversity strategy understood and pragmatically applied in urban communities, and to develop research tools and knowledge about how to facilitate community engagement in fostering biodiversity while strengthening social cohesion.

Read the full story in Decision Point issue #101.



Mumaw L & S Bekessy (2017). Wildlife gardening for collaborative public–private biodiversity conservation. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14486563.2017.1309695


Image: The superb fairy-wren feeds on insects and small grubs, and will often appear in small groups in gardens with dense, low, native shrub cover. (Image by Geoff Park)