Do you have a passion for native gardens? Use it to inspire others as a Wildscape Ambassador! Wildscape Ambassadors are Audubon volunteers who receive training to promote bird-friendly native gardens in their own communities. By sharing their love of birds and knowledge of native plants, Ambassadors inspire solutions to habitat loss from urban and residential development, one of the greatest threats facing birds and other wildlife. Ambassadors host presentations, talk to elected officials, and encourage their community to take actions to protect birds, such as volunteering at Habitat Hero planting events and adopting native landscaping resolutions.
Science is at the heart of all of Audubon Rockies’ programs, so we’re partnering with researchers at Colorado State University to study the effects of the Wildscape Ambassadors and Habitat Hero programs on participating residents’ gardening and advocacy. The collaborative study began in fall 2016 with an exploratory qualitative investigation by PhD student Megan S. Jones looking at why people begin and sustain their wildscape gardening and advocacy. In spring 2019 the project expanded into a multi-year study through a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Dr. Becky Niemiec. For the next several years the research team will work with staff at Audubon Rockies and at the City of Fort Collins Nature in the City program to run a series of field experiments that will identify what communication messages are most effective at supporting Wildscape Ambassadors to change their own and others’ gardening behavior.