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Jason

Jason Cummings

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Australian Capital Territory None > Business
Environment > Conservation
To explore innovative conservation Trust business models, partnerships, policy settings and community drivers to facilitate the adoption and tailoring of arrangements in Australia - UK
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Conclusions and Recommendations

The conservation sector in the United Kingdom is a mature industry, and not-for-profit Trust organisations are the leading agents securing land, and delivering habitat restoration and extension activities. There is a strong commercial focus with many of the organisations managing social enterprises to support their mission.

There was a strong strategic alignment around visitor centres, social enterprise activities and membership recruitment and retention. The visitor economies of the United Kingdom and Australia are not vastly different, and there appears to be great opportunities in Australia to better-connect visitors to our nature areas with long-term conservation initiatives.

The experiences we provide visitors to nature areas in Australia can be better-tailored to their interests so that they experience a deeper, longer and more meaningful connection to our landscapes. These experiences will influence behaviours and make people more sympathetic to nature conservation as a ‘cause’ worthy of support.

Several recommendations extend from this research:

  • In the planning, design and development of nature-based experiences a visitor segment framework should guide the process 
  • Development of membership or supporter bases using place-based engagement and story-telling should be trialed in Australia 
  • Local and national lottery products should be established to provide enhanced funding for wildlife conservation organisations (there is already one in Western Australia) 
  • The use of Trusts to deliver long-term conservation outcomes that are agreed through development application planning processes should continue to grow

One final reflection on the opportunities around visitor engagement and membership development is the recognition that a very similar model exists in New Zealand, where Zealandia manage a Sanctuary with a visitor centre and have more than 11,000 members. If it can be done in Wellington and the UK, it can be done here!

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