Habitat Stepping Stones – Macquarie University (Australia)

Creating habitat stepping stones in urban areas: When they understand how they can personally make a difference, people’s attitudes change. 



The Goal

To make it easy for people to create effective habitat stepping stones in their urban backyards.

Over half of Australia’s threatened species occur within the urban fringe. We wanted to make it easy for people to turn their gardens into wildlife-friendly stopovers between existing wildlife corridors. To do that we needed to overcome three common barriers to action:

  1. Lack of awareness

  2. Bewilderment

  3. Apathy



The Solution

We use simplicity, technology, social media, public recognition and a touch of gamification to overcome barriers and motivate lasting behaviour change.

  1. Raising awareness:
    – The project’s website contains engaging, detailed information about the importance of urban habitat.
    – Social media extends the environmental education.
    – An online map shows the location of existing habitat stepping stones and wildlife corridors, so everyone can see how they could make a difference.

  2. Overcoming bewilderment:
    – We created a simple equation to describe what makes good habitat (Habitat = Food + Water + Shelter).
    – We designed an easy, online, 1-2-3 process to participate.
    – We keep the number of showcased habitat elements for each local area to a manageable amount so that people do not become overwhelmed.

  3. Overcoming apathy:
    – Participation includes a personal pledge which creates an emotional commitment.
    – Public recognition is provided via both a physical property plaque to attach to a front fence and also the online map which shows where pledges have been made.
    – Those two things also begin creating a social norm – when people see other people doing something, they want to join in.



The Results

So far over 500 pledges have been made across two Australian states, with more than 4,000 habitat elements pledged to be added to urban gardens.

  • 23% of visitors to the project’s website return to learn more

  • 44% of survey respondents already noticed more wildlife in their garden

  • 49% said that their experience had inspired them to take part in other local wildlife and habitat projects

  • 83% had added or intended to add additional habitat elements to the ones they pledged

  • 98% are ‘likely to continue to add habitat elements’ to their gardens or balconies.



Insider Tip

  • Images and videos inspire people!

  • When they understand how they can personally make a difference, people’s attitudes change.

  • Once people notice the wildlife in their gardens, they begin to care more about it.




#NatureForAll Newsletter

Keep up with #NatureForAll! Subscribe to our newsletter:

We respect your privacy.