Humanity faces numerous challenges in adapting to a changing planet. Public gardens are an ideal setting in which to engage the public on how to be part of the solution. Climate disruption, habitat fragmentation, biodiversity loss, food security, pollution, and more are natural topics for public gardens to address. Even gardens with a primary focus on beauty can create engagement on the role of plants in nature and gently lead the public to make wise environmental choices. How do we motivate our audience to adopt environmentally healthy practices? 

Environmental and conservation psychology offer innovative tools for engaging audiences in nature experiences that can lead to behavior change. Evaluation of programming is one essential aspect of these tools. Another is community-based social marketing (CBSM), which draws on psychology, communications, and life sciences to motivate the public to change. CBSM requires that we first understand who our audiences are, and then apply ways to shift them from environmental awareness to action. 

Presenter: F. Lavoipierre, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, CA