There is general concern amongst conservationists that people are taking fewer opportunities to experience and connect with nature. This project is designed to explore this and to understand what the implications may be for the conservation of biodiversity.
To gain an overview of the variety of work that CCI partners and University Departments are doing in this area, Shared Challenges arranged a brainstorming meeting on the 3rd December 2009. This was one of the broadest CCI meetings, and people came from a range of Departments within the University of Cambridge including English, Zoology and Education, as well as the Diocese of Ely and most of the CCI partner organisations. This diversity of backgrounds meant that people had experience of a wide range of approaches, including advertising, campaigning, using celebrities to raise awareness of specific issues, citizen science activities and surveys using volunteers, direct experiences (including gardening) and visiting local schools.
A series of ideas-gathering workshops in the CCI partners in 2010/2011 revealed that there is ongoing interest across CCI in this area, particularly those relating to citizen sciences and the factors that motivate volunteers to take an active role in conservation projects. Shared Challenges convened a meeting in January 2012 and a number of ideas for new collaborations were developed and opportunities to pursue these are currently being sought.