Gardens for Wildlife Victoria is a participatory research project, involving a network of council and community members pooling their knowledge and skills to engage their communities in wildlife gardening.

  • Project dates: 2018 (ongoing)


Gardens for Wildlife Victoria is a change initiative grounded in the everyday lives of urban Victorians. Its purpose is to embed biodiversity stewardship, the nurturing of human-nature relationships, in practice and policy for social and ecological wellbeing.

This project arose from a systemic co-inquiry of urban biodiversity governance in Victoria. The co-inquiry showed poor inclusion of social dynamics and actors in biodiversity policy making and planning amidst rapidly declining local biodiversity.

There is a focus on public land though urban land is mostly private. Social connections and wellbeing benefits linked to caring for local species and places are ignored.

Tawny frogmouths napping in a wildlife garden. Photo by Richard Kelly.

Research and Scope

Gardens for Wildlife Victoria is a participatory research project. It comprises a network of councils and community members pooling their knowledge and skills to engage their communities in wildlife gardening – as a catalyst for strengthening biodiversity stewardship and its social and ecological impacts through practice and policy. 

Wildlife gardening links biodiversity stewardship in individual gardens with stewardship across a municipality to connect fragmented landscapes and build social connections. Social learning, monitoring, and adaptation underpin the project.

Lines of inquiry include:

  • Use of systemic co-inquiry to reframe and enact urban biodiversity conservation
  • Relationships between motivations, empowerment, capacity building, wellbeing, and wildlife gardening
  • Challenges and opportunities of community-local government codesign
  • Dynamics of scaling biodiversity stewardship across multiple landscapes
  • Developing assays for socio-ecological impact

Gardens for Wildlife Victoria has a research committee and encourages research collaborations (link to download research and evaluation policy document).

Learning how to introduce apartment dwellers to wildlife gardening. Photo by David Hannah.

Outcomes and Impact

Gardens for Wildlife Victoria has supported the expansion of wildlife gardening across Victoria. As of 2021, there are programs in various stages of development in 41 out of Victoria’s 79 Local Government Areas.

The project has run workshops and training sessions with community members and local governments, developed education tools, and conducted research on the benefits of wildlife gardens. View a summary document of activities here.

Map of participating councils in Victoria, December 2020. View full-size map here.

The aims of Gardens for Wildlife Victoria include:

  • Provide conceptual frameworks for catalysing and sustaining scaling of urban biodiversity stewardship
  • ​​Develop new understanding of biodiversity stewardship dynamics and how they play out in social and ecological impacts
  • Provide insights for practice and policy, including tools and monitoring frameworks
  • Deliver workshops and publications
Council and community feedback on participation in Gardens for Wildlife Victoria

Selected Publications and Media


Project programs have been funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning , the Andrews Foundation, and Gardens for Wildlife Victoria.

Further Information

If you want to know more about this project or have any questions, please contact Dr Laura Mumaw via

Wildlife garden

Key People

Lead researchers

Dr Laura Mumaw

Dr Laura Mumaw

Research associate

Codesigning urban nature stewardship: Gardens for Wildlife Victoria

Dr Helen Corney

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Codesigning urban nature stewardship: Gardens for Wildlife Victoria

Professor Ray Ison

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