Gardens for Wildlife program turns one
Gardens for Wildlife, an initiative of City of Kingston, Victoria, to encourage and support residents to enhance their gardens with the purpose of providing shelter, nesting habitat and food sources for native wildlife, has just turned one.
By increasing habitat in residential gardens communities can create important ‘stepping stones’ for wildlife to thrive and move through neighbourhoods.
In May 2020, the program launched with a webinar titled ‘Welcoming Wildlife into Your Yard’.
Presented by Sustainable Gardening Australia, it was the first of many webinars made available to residents to support the program during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Kingston Mayor, Steve Staikos said one year down the track, the program had received significant interest from residents, with over 120 in-person residential garden assessments completed.
“We’ve had such wonderful feedback from the community about this new initiative with many compliments about the program itself, but more so about our ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘expert’ guide who visited residents’ homes and helped transform their gardens into beautiful habitats for wildlife.”
Assessments are carried out by Kingston’s Gardens for Wildlife Officer, and the program is now supplemented by a popular 16-page wildlife habitat booklet.
After each garden visit, where the booklets are distributed, Kingston’s Gardens for Wildlife Officer sends the resident a brief report including planting suggestions and an indigenous plant list and provides the garden with a ‘habitat score’.
The habitat score, devised by the City of Kingston, offers an important baseline for tracking progress over the years and across the municipality. It also assists residents with goal setting for further developing their habitat gardens.
Future plans for the Kingston Gardens for Wildlife program include the involvement of volunteers in the planting of a sample Habitat Garden at Kingston’s Melaleuca Community Hub, followed by an ‘open gardens’ initiative starting in Spring 2021. Volunteer engagement in the program is expected to grow as the program develops.