Gazania free gardens – a multi layered approach to engaging coastal communities to drive behaviour change

Mrs Caroline Taylor1, Ms  Shen Mann2

1Department for Environment And Water, Adelaide , Australia, 2Alexandrina Council, Goolwa, Australia

The flowering weed Gazania has long been a favourite plant for many coastal gardeners. Mainly as it is drought tolerant, has bright masses of coloured flowers, spreads readily and thrives on neglect. Which are all great qualities for being an invasive weed!

Many of the coastal dunes of the Fleurieu Peninsula are well populated with a range of gazania species with most coastal residents assuming that by the sheer volume of the plants they must be a native species.

This project motivated the urban population of two coastal towns to remove gazania from their gardens by educating the wider community that gazania plants are a declared weed, thereby making it socially unacceptable to have them in gardens. Previous attempts to engage local residents had limited success and did not tackle the problem across multiple properties. For this project a number of strategies were utilised concurrently to engage, educate and work towards eradication of gazanias from coastal gardens across coastal townships of Alexandrina Council.

This project was successful at a local level to connect with local residents whose gardens continued to reintroduce gazania seed and cutting materials through the dumping of garden waste into high-priority conservation areas. It also built on extensive conservation works undertaken by the project partners over the previous decade to remove gazanias throughout the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Region.

The project is a partnership between Alexandrina Council, Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning, Goolwa Coastcare, Alexandrina Community Nursery and Natural Resources Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges.


Biography:

Caroline has worked for Natural Resources AMLR since 2005, initially working with community and school groups on coastal restoration projects before joining the Seascapes Team in February 2009. Having a strong background in on ground works and community capacity building and engagement, Caroline works with a range of coastal community groups and land managers to plan, prioritise and coordinate the Board’s coastal on-ground works across the region. Always looking for a new way to tackle the challenges facing our coastal areas there’s usually a new idea on the horizon on how we can engage the wider community to make positive change locally.

Shen has 15 years’ experience across the private, non-profit, federal and local government sectors as a lawyer, campaigner, policy adviser and project manager.  In her current role as Principal Strategy and Policy Officer at Alexandrina Council, Shen leads Council’s environmental sustainability, marketing & communications and strategic planning functions.  A Goolwa Beach local and a passionate believer in the power of people coming together to speak up and care for the places they love, Shen’s garden is proudly Gazania free!

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