Going back to the drawing board: turning COVID-19 restrictions into an engagement opportunity


Going back to the drawing board: turning COVID-19 restrictions into an engagement opportunity

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

Staying home? Coronavirus may have changed the way we live, but perhaps having more time in the backyard might be just what the doctor (and the Landcarers) ordered. When COVID movement restrictions came into place the Tweed, Brunswick Valley and Richmond Landcare networks had to re-think the community engagement and education component of their collaborative ‘Community Based Weeds’ Biosecurity project. Plans for a regional bus trip, cross-coast Weed Blitz working bees and educational materials had to rapidly be reassessed in order to best meet project outcomes and deadlines.

The solution

In-person engagement plans were flipped to an online campaign using social media, newsletters and network emails.  Weed biosecurity messages were translated to the isolation situation, becoming a #BackyardWeedBlitz. Rather than coming together in events the participating networks encouraged everyone to take an extra step at home to help secure the coast from the threat of weeds, calling it the perfect time for a Backyard Weed Blitz!

As a part of the Project in the Ballina, Byron and Tweed Local Government Areas, Landcare groups and professional bush regenerators had been targeting specific biosecurity threats in key coastal sites over the past 6 months. Rather than spreading effort across the vast range of weeds the #BackyardWeedBlitz reminded audiences that targeted control of specific biosecurity threats can have a strategic impact.  During this Backyard Weed Blitz we set our sights on four key coastal weeds: Asparagus weeds, Bitou bush, Cape Ivy, and Glory Lily. Landholders and residents were encouraged to join their Backyard Blitz efforts to this concerted effort to together reduce the spread of these species across the coast. Social media tiles, instructional videos, fact sheets and links were shared across partnering platforms over the month of May to communicate messages relating to Biosecurity Duty and profiling target weeds including their identification and control.

Funded by North Coast Local Land Services and Rous County Council with support from North Coast Regional Landcare Network this program engages local Landcare groups to complete on-ground weed control works that complement the activities of Local Control Authorities and assist in the implementation of the North Coast Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan 2017-2022.   

The impact

The #BackyardWeedBlitz campaign had an early reach of over 21,000 people and direct engagement of over 1100.  New partnerships and opportunities were generated organically with requests received to replicate the campaign over the border. The opportunity reminded us of the need to be flexible in engagement delivery, helped keep us nimble through the unfolding crisis, and reminded us of the freedom needed to keep community engagement alive.

Key facts

  • Planned event transformed into month-long online campaign due to COVID19
  • 10 posts sharing graphics, fact sheets, links profiling target weeds and Biosecurity duty
  • Campaign reached over 21k people online

Project Partners