Teaching Matters

PS1 R3 Species Hotels: Inspiring community connections

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 30 November 202030 Nov 2020


Species Hotels: Inspiring community connections


  • Louise Wallis, STED, Architecture & Design, CoSE
  • Tanya Bailey, SNS/ Greening Australia
  • Nel Smit, Greening Australia


Connected to place

Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 3




The Species Hotels (SH) project inspires first year students to design and make sculptural habitats along a river walk in Ross. The purpose is two-fold: to provide functioning habitat for specific animals as the young plantings develop around them, and to raise community awareness of the Tasmanian Island Ark (Greening Australia, 2020) through students’ design of distinctive forms. Tasmanians are largely unaware that the Northern Midlands is identified as one of 15 Biodiversity Hot Spots in Australia with 32 nationally threatened species, and more than 180 plants and animals listed as threatened at the state level (Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, n.d.). NGOs, UTAS and government are involved in this significant ecological restoration program. To achieve such positive outcomes will take generations of long-term support within the community. Place-based education provides an ideal vehicle to build ecological literacy and stewardship capacity, as it is inherently interdisciplinary, experiential, and connects place with self and community (Gruenewald & Smith, 2007; Ardoin, 2006).

The involvement of Architecture and Design occurred by chance but has since evolved to be an integral part of the curriculum (2016-). Over 400 participants have been engaged; including university students, schoolchildren, educators, scientists, artists, landowners, and community supporters. This presentation will outline how partnerships have flourished and become sustainable through different educational activities, events, and locations; as well as the challenges. It will also show how those involved have been inspired to learn, transform their thinking, and connect.


Ardoin, N. M. (2006). Toward an interdisciplinary understanding of place: Lessons for environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE), 11, 112-126.

Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment. (n.d). Australia's 15 national biodiversity hotspots.

Greening Australia (2020). Tasmanian Island Ark. https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/programs/tasmania-island-ark/

Gruenewald, D. A., & Smith, G. A. (2007). Place-based education in the global age: Local diversity. Taylor & Francis Group.

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