Reconnecting people and nature

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.

Project Aims

The original aim of this project was to establish new discussion groups around the theme of ‘reconnecting people and nature’, to share information and perspectives between University researchers and CCI partner organisations and to help catalyze collaboration. In particular we were interested in building collaborations between groups involved in social science with those more directly involved in citizen science.

After citizen science was identified as an area of interest for a number of partners, the Programme brought a small group of people to share information on current work and interests related to citizen science and explore opportunities for new collaborative CCI projects.

Key Activities

  • A meeting hosted by Birdlife International (3rd December 2009) brought together people from a wide range of University Departments and CCI partners to discussed ideas and project concepts related to ‘reconnecting people and nature’.
  • A small group discussion at UNEP-WCMC (31st January 2012) focused on projects related to citizen science and to share information on current work and to explore opportunities for new collaborative CCI projects.

CCI partners Involved

The University of Cambridge Faculty of Education is committed to the highest standards of research and teaching and is a significant contributor to the improvement of educational policy and practice...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, delivering global and regional programmes of conservation and community projects.
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...
Cambridge Conservation Forum (CCF) is a network that links the diverse Cambridge-based community of conservation practitioners and researchers working at local, national and international levels.
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...