Habitat Stepping Stones - Stage 1
In 2013 ARIES gained a competitive grant from the NSW Environmental Trust to research and deliver the Habitat Stepping Stones project, the creation of an engaging educational website focussing on the Ku-ring-gai Council local government area in Sydney. The project provides an innovative approach to encourage people to improve urban biodiversity.
Visitors to the website find inspiring images and useful information for 60 of the most beautiful and beneficial food, water and shelter elements to include in their gardens. To encourage engagement, aspects of gamification include an easy 1-2-3 process: Discover-Pledge-Share. Visitors can make an online pledge to add three or more habitat elements to their own place to create a wildlife-friendly stopover, and they can choose to have a colourful bird added to their property on the online map to gain public recognition for their good work.
They also receive discounts from local suppliers and a Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for their front fence to gain more public recognition and increase awareness among their neighbours. The project includes a lively and supportive social media community where everyone can share their experiences, ask questions and continue their education with lots of useful information such as local plants coming into flower and the arrival of migratory birds.
The project has been so successful that it made double its target of pledges, with some coming from across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia! A follow-up survey revealed:
- 75% of respondents had gained increased awareness of the importance of local habitat
- 37% had added even more habitat elements than the ones they pledged
- 90% were “likely to continue to add habitat elements” to their gardens.
Winner: 2015 National Trust Heriate Award for Conservation of Natural Landscape
Nominated Finalist: 2015 UN World Environment Day Award for Sustainability Education
This program was assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust. See Stage 2.