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Projects from the Global Initiative

COMMUNITY BIODIVERSITY NETWORK

"An Australian Approach to Biodiversity Community Education" - by Andreas Glanznig

Australia's Community Biodiversity Network (CBN) is a national non-government, community-based network of organizations that works to:

  • Increase community understanding of biodiversity and its value
  • Provide ready access to biodiversity related information
  • Promote community involvement in biodiversity conservation, and
  • Ensure the full and effective implementation of the national strategy for the conservation of Australia's biological diversity.

Background

The CBN was established in 1995 by Humane Society International, with funding support from Environment Australia (an agency of the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage). The CBN is hosted by Humane Society International, the Australian Museum Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Research and the World Wide Fund for Nature - Australia.

Policy context

The CBN contributes to the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategy target area 5: Involving the Community. Adopted in 1996, the National Biodiversity Strategy is Australia's major policy instrument to implement the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity domestically.

In addition to providing funding support for the CBN, the Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage also implements a complementary communication strategy.

Operational scope

The scope of the CBN embraces all of Australia's biodiversity. To avoid duplication, the CBN seeks to coordinate, integrate, complement and strengthen existing efforts. This requires the CBN to work closely with existing biodiversity related networks and organisations, in particular the Threatened Species Network and the Marine and Coastal Community Network. Emphasis is placed on overarching issues such as biodiversity community education strategies, ecosystems most at risk and means to ameliorate key threatening processes.

Organisational arrangements

The CBN is a non-membership based network comprising about 1,000 organizations, groups, and networks and hundreds of individuals.

Organizations linked to the CBN receive information via the CBN LifeLines bulletin and email list servers, and participate in the CBN flagship community education initiative, Biodiversity Month.

General communication model

 
TIER TARGET'S DESIRED RESPONSE
Awareness of the term "biodiversity" I've heard of this
Knowledge and understanding of biodiversity: its overall meaning. The three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity, ecosystem diversity. I know about this
Linkages to our own lives: the food we eat, our health, back-yards, clean water from ecosystems and national parks, quality of life. This relates to me
Consciousness raising; the importance of biodiversity; the need to protect and conserve it; "stewardship" for our children - ATTITUDINAL MODIFICATIONS I care
Call-to-action; changes in actions that impact on biodiversity - BEHAVIOURAL MODIFICATIONS I do / I will

The CBN recognizes the weak causal relationships between attitudes, knowledge and action, and consequently seeks to include all tiers simultaneously in its communication messages, with a focus on associating the term biodiversity to a household call-to-action, such as creating habitat gardens.

 
Community education strategies
Communication and education
Objective Activities Outputs Outcomes
Foster partnerships and alliances to develop and implement biodiversity education projects
  • Pursue potential partnerships, where appropriate
  • Provide advice and materials, and cooperate, where appropriate
  • Exploring Biodiversity national schools theme for Science Week 2001
  • Gondwana Biodiversity Program developed by Girl Guides Australia
  • Oceans Alive web site developed jointly by the ABC, CBN, and the British Council
More efficient and effective delivery of biodiversity communication education to a variety of audiences
Establish a national media and community focal point to celebrate and promote biodiversity and how it can be conserved Coordinate and manage Earth Alive! Biodiversity Month held yearly in September. Actions include:

  • Promoting the Month
  • Coordinating community events and national media
  • Staging national Ecohero Awards
  • Maintaining Biodiversity Month website
  • Segments and spots on TV media
  • Interviews and spots on radio media
  • TV and radio CSAs aired
  • Promotional materials, such as posters and stickers
  • Resource materials, such as Earth Alive Action Guide, background articles on Biodiversity Month action themes

Community events held nationally
Increased media support for biodiversity stories.

Increased community awareness of biodiversity and simple household actions that can be taken to conserve biodiversity
Pursue ongoing media coverage to increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity and actions that assist in its conservation Obtain support by commercial TV networks of CBN Community Service Announcements
  • TV Community Service Announcements
 
Provide ready access to popular/educational information on biodiversity, issues confronting its conservation, and conservation measures Develop projects that synthesise existing and emerging information on biodiversity resources

Develop innovative educational tools
  • CBN Web Site
  • On-line Biodiversity Education Centre
  • Oceans Alive web site
Ready access to synthesized information by organisations involved in popularizing biodiversity.

Increased knowledge about biodiversity and how to conserve species and ecosystems.
Provide families, households and individuals with tools to understand the value of biodiversity, how it relates to their lifestyles, and how to conserve local species and ecosystems Develop 'how-to' biodiversity community education materials

Distribute through the national network
  • Earth Alive Home Guide
  • Earth Alive Action Guide
Increased knowledge by families, households and individuals of how to conserve local biodiversity and where to access relevant organisations and further resources, leading to adoption of more biodiversity sympathetic behaviour
Provide ready access to information on recent developments on biodiversity policy ad conservation Engage national network to access information about breaking and topical biodiversity issues

Prepare, print and distribute materials that summarise breaking and topical issues
  • Publish 4 LifeLines bulletins/year
  • Maintain Biodiv-talk list server
  • Maintain on-line CBN Information Clearing House
Biodiversity and natural resource influencers and decision-makers have up to date information on biodiversity conservation initiatives
Capacity-building
Objective Activities Outputs Outcomes
Facilitate the development of a nationally coordinated approach to biodiversity community education
  • Regularly liase with biodiversity communicators in other national organisations and the States
  • Promote information exchange through the CBN Biodiv-ed list server
  • Encourage involvement in Biodiversity Month
Traffic on the Biodiv-ed list server Development of a more coordinated approach to biodiversity community education that complements Commonwealth and national initiatives
Increase the capacity of network organisations to develop and implement biodiversity community education programs and projects.
  • Provide advice to network organizations
  • Prepare materials which synthesize existing and emerging knowledge about community attitudes to biodiversity, successful communication triggers and hooks, model biodiversity community education plans, and information resources
  • NSW Biodiversity Communicators Kit
  • Biodiversity Communicators Handbook
  • Earth Alive Directory of Biodiversity Resources, Programs and Organisations Online database and CD-ROM
Increased capacity of national, state, regional and local organizations to more effectively communicate biodiversity

More effective engagement in Biodiversity Month.

Select Bibliography of Printed Resources

Community Education

  • Earthscoop. 1998. Biodiversity: A guide to using and protecting Australia's biodiversity. Environment Australia: Canberra.
  • Glanznig, A. 2000. Earth Alive Action Guide. Community Biodiversity Network: Sydney. (Brochure).
  • Glanznig, A. and Bateson, P. 1999. Earth Alive Home Guide. Community Biodiversity Network and Environs Australia: Sydney.
  • Glanznig, A. and Prideaux, M. 1999. Getting on Track: the biodiversity challenge. Australian Conservation Foundation: Melbourne.
  • Glanznig, A., Vandine, A., Hayes, S. and Lieberman, T. 2000. Earth Alive Directory of Biodiversity Resources, Programs and Organisations. Community Biodiversity Network: Sydney. (CD-ROM)

Formal Education

Primary School

  • Biodiversity Module. (Qld) 2000. Qld Department of Natural Resources
    This on-line teaching module contains background information for teachers and an extensive set of classroom activities consistent with Qld Curriculum core learning outcomes
  • BioWhat? The Starter Kit for Primary Schools to Conserve and Promote Biodiversity in their School Community. (SA) 1998. South Australian Urban Forest Biodiversity Program.
    The kit aims to promote awareness of biodiversity and support participation in local community projects. Activities consistent with Key Learning Areas for Science and SOSE. Includes strong action themes that focuses on adopting a site to restore and conserve.
  • Food Webs, Classification and Biodiversity Teachers Kit. 1999. Gould League.
    The kit contains over 70 magnetic backed animal pictures that can be used to create food webs, overhead transparencies and an accompanying book which explains a variety of new and exciting activities.
  • Biodiversity Education Resource Book 1 (Vic). 1999. Vic Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
    Each book provides background information for teachers, exciting classroom activities and duplication masters. The activities are designed to cover CSF Key Learning Areas for Science and SOSE.

Secondary School

  • Bugs, Beasts and Biodiversity: Exploring Biodiversity in the South-west of Western Australia (WA). 1999. Australian Association for Environmental Education (WA).
    This resource assists teachers and educators to integrate biodiversity within the school curriculum using practical case studies specifically dealing with the rich, ancient and unique environments found in the South West of Western Australia.
  • Biodiversity: A Teaching Guide (NSW). 1999 NSW EPA and NSW National Parks and Wildlife. Sydney.
    This guide and it's companion volume 'Sustainability - A Teaching Guide' present the concepts of biodiversity and sustainability to students through classroom activities. Pre readings for teachers are given in each chapter.
  • Food Webs, Classification and Biodiversity Teachers Kit. 1999. Gould League.
    The kit contains over 70 magnetic backed animal pictures that can be used to create food webs, overhead transparencies and an accompanying book which explains a variety of new and exciting activities.
  • Biodiversity Education Resource Book 2 (Vic). 1999. Vic Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
    Each book provides background information for teachers, exciting classroom activities and duplication masters. The activities are designed to cover CSF Key Learning Areas for Science and SOSE.

Web Resources and Interesting Web Sites

Contact Information

Andreas Glanznig
National Coordinator
Community Biodiversity Network (Australia)
Ph: + 2 9380 7629
Fx: + 2 9380 7630
Email: a.glanznig@cbn.org.au
Web: www.cbn.org.au

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme