Looking At Landcare – 8/9/2017

Hi Landcarers

We had a real treat on Wednesday evening with a presentation from Lynette McLeod.

The National Parks Association (NPA) Lachlan Valley Branch and Central West Lachlan Landcare were pleased to be able to host Lynette, who has a wealth of knowledge to share, not only drawing on her time working on invertebrate pest control, but also then moving on the psychology behind what motivates people to take action on local projects.

Lynette has spent over 20 years of working on these vertebrate pest control programs, including north of Broken Hill, Dubbo, Orange and some time in Western Australia. During this time, her work included studies into the effectiveness of group fox baiting, where she was able to deliver useful information, including statistics on the most effective ways to address this issue, but she was interested to understand why people might not take up opportunities to address ‘feral’ issues particularly when there are long term benefits in terms of lamb survival for sheep producers.

The opportunity arose to be part of the School of Behavioural Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England (UNE) and Lynette found herself studying psychology.

Her PhD focused on developing, implementing and evaluating improved communications strategies to facilitate the uptake of best practices for the control of invasive animals. This includes capacity building support such as online guides and training, and working with our industry partners to design and implement communications strategies. These strategies will draw on the behavioural sciences, including best practice principles for behaviourally effective communications, precise targeting of messages to different audience segments, based upon the analysis of survey data assessing current community usage and likelihood of adoption of invasive animal management technologies and practices, as well as the perceived barriers and benefits of adopting these technologies and practices.

It sounds like a mouthful, but basically she was looking into what motivates people to take action, or, not, on invasive animal control.

Some of the topics that Lynette talked about included the Principle of Social Proof, the Rule of Reciprocation, the Contrast Principle and behavioural theories and how behaviour changes.

Importantly for Landcare and other like-minded organisations, she reviewed different types of motivation and what motivation is intrinsic. For example, we have a carp problem and some people just love to fish, or we have a fox problem and some people love to hunt.

It was also interesting to see that there were other motivations including perceptions from other people, age, past experience and of course, productivity.

Those attending her presentation this week were definitely the beneficiaries of her years of study. Not only did we hear about her work, but we were fortunate to be able to view some of the fantastic footage taken from motion sensor cameras in a national park which brought up some surprising pictures of feral animals and natives.

I have only touched on this interesting subject. If you would like more information, I will put links in our weekly blog, including reference books that Lynette recommends around the subject and one online document, Behaviourally Effective Communications for Invasive Animals Management: A Practical Guide.

The next NPA walk will be at Lynch’s Loop in the Weddin Mountains National Park. Walkers meet at the Forbes Railway Station at 9am on Saturday, 9 September. This is a medium 4km walk. Please contact walk leader, Peter Cannon on 02 6866 1225 the evening before the walk.

For more information about anything in this article, please contact Central West Lachlan Landcare on 02 6862 4914, cwllpo@hotmail.com, facebook or our website at centralwestlachlanlandcare.org

Until next week, happy Landcaring!