Hybrid Knowledge: Place, Practice, and Knowing in a Volunteer Ecological Restoration Project
Karen A Reid, University of Melbourne
Kathryn J H Williams, University of Melbourne
Mark S Paine, University of Melbourne; Dairy New Zealand
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Wide community participation in ecological restoration projects is encouraged because of the multiple values generated. However, it is often assumed that volunteer projects cannot contribute to the production of generalizable ecological knowledge because they are locally focused and donít follow scientific protocols or ecological theory. Anecdotally, the many successful volunteer projects suggest that some amateurs possess insight that could benefit restoration ecology generally, but the processes of generating, testing, and sharing local restoration knowledge remains poorly understood. This ethnographic study of the volunteer restorationist organization, Friends of Organ Pipes National Park, in Victoria, Australia, explores local ecological knowledge generation. Our results suggest that there are similarities between amateursí knowledge practices and traditional ecological knowledge such as extended apprenticeships, narratives, and the importance of experience of place. There are also similarities with practices of science, for example, semistructured planning, monitoring, evaluating, and documenting observations. We conclude that the ways amateurs generate, share, and test knowledge are complex and dynamic, producing a kind of hybrid between local and scientific knowledge.
community-based ecological restoration; ecological knowledge; ecological restoration practice; place-based knowledge; traditional ecological knowledge