We're now a full year into wildlife monitoring for the Turning Gardeners Into Conservationists project!
Over the last twelve months, the project has seen some great ecological outcomes, with 170 wildlife species spotted visiting the gardens of citizen scientists throughout southwest WA. Of those, 80 species have been detected using wildlife-friendly habitat structures, including frog hotels, ponds, reptile shelters, bird baths and nest boxes.
This project is also exploring the human side of wildlife-friendly gardening and wildlife monitoring, and how it affects the health and wellbeing of participants and their connection to nature.
Images: Dr Laura Skates from Perth NRM with citizen scientists in their gardens.
During the months of June and July, the project team at Perth NRM and UWA Albany were busy working on this sociological research, and we wanted to share a little bit about the chosen two research methods.
Sociological surveys: More than 100 citizen scientists have been asked to completed online sociological surveys, with questions about gardening experiences, their health and wellbeing, and feelings of being connected to nature.
The survey uses three well-established metrics: the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), and the Nature Relatedness Scale (NR-6).
This survey was first completed by participants at the beginning of the wildlife monitoring, and then again six months later. They will be asked to complete the survey one last time later this year, and the results will be compiled to discover if any changes occur over the course of the project.
Sociological interviews: In addition to the surveys, 20 citizen scientists recently shared their experiences more in-depth by participating in semi-structured interviews.
These interviews provide rich qualitative data for the project and will help us gain an even deeper understanding of how wildlife-friendly gardening can influence human health and wellbeing. They also provide an insight into how and why people are motivated to ‘garden for wildlife’ in the first place.
We’re excited to see the results of this additional research and while we can’t share the data with you yet, we can share some wonderful feedback from participating citizen scientists:
Thank you to all citizen scientists for your time and efforts in this project!
The ‘Turning Gardeners into Conservationists’ project is proudly delivered by UWA Albany and Perth NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia Science Engagement Programme.