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Community group volunteer perceptions and awareness of Victorian marine protected areas
conference contributionposted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Rebecca Koss, Kelly MillerKelly Miller
In 2004, a Community Based Monitoring (CBM) program for Victoria’s Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries was developed. A key performance area for Victoria’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) Management Strategy is community engagement. This program was developed to incorporate the key performance principles of community education, participation and engagement. CBM involves scientific protocols to monitor different habitat types in a MPA. As part of the CBM project, perceptions and values of MPAs were investigated through a pilot survey of 125 community group volunteers from 4 volunteer groups. Surveys were sent to all community group members which included participants and non-participants in the CBM program. Questions sought qualitative and quantitative information, focusing on personal values of MPAs. The surveys included questions associated with CBM, MPA management and environmental issues affecting the marine environment. Responses from the pilot study indicated that 50% of the volunteers participated in CBM to learn more about scientific research, and 30% wanted to work close to nature. This pilot study will form the basis of a larger-scale study to investigate community group perceptions of MPAs and identifying how to maintain volunteer enthusiasm, interest and motivation in a CBM program.