Catherine Baudains  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Dr Catherine Baudains
    BSc (Hons), DipEd, PhD.

    Lecturer, Education for Sustainability

    About me

    I am a lecturer in Environmental Education for Sustainability at Murdoch University.  My research interests focus on improving the effectiveness of environmental education as an environmental management tool, or more specifically, changing human behaviour in order to achieve a sustainable environmental outcome.  I completed my doctoral research in this area, examining various education strategies in the context of transport use, developing the TravelSmart Workplace programme and examining Workplace Travel Plans. I was project leader for  Program 4 (Policies and Action for Woodland and Forest Restoration) in the State Centre of Excellence for Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health.

    My voluntary activities contribute to the community in a range of areas, all of which link with my interest in environmental education.  I am a long standing executive member of the WA Chapter of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE WA); coordinator of the annual AAEE Catchments Corridors and Coasts program;  was a member of the National Environment Working Group for the Australian Anglican Church; a Strategy Leader for Environmental Responsibility element of the Perth Mission Plan; and was granted life membership of the Murdoch University Environmental Science Association for ongoing contribution to the student body.


    Research areas

    I am involved in a wide range of education for sustainability research in collaboration with my postgraduate students and colleagues.  My current research includes work examining:

    • the role of urban gardening practices in habitat provision and conservation,
    • the importance of citizen science and social research for effective environmental management in urban areas,
    • environmental and lifestyle education programs,
    • novel community engagement strategies to improve understanding of climate change
    • exploring the effectiveness of self regulation of learning processes for achieving long term environmental behaviour change.
    • evaluation of environmental education and the WA Sustainable Schools Initiative

    A summary of current projects is provided below.


    Current projects

    Impact of Education for Sustainability at a Montessori Primary School: From Silos to Systems Thinking.  (with Dr Elaine Lewis & Dr Caroline Mansfield).

    This research investigated Education for Sustainability (EfS) at an independent Montessori primary school, located in the Perth metropolitan area of Western Australia. A longitudinal case study involving analysis of data from a twenty year period was conducted to determine the effectiveness of EfS. Historical information about EfS at the school from 1990 to 2005 was examined, with the main focus of the study being on the impact of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) between 2005 and 2009. AuSSI promotes a whole school, whole systems thinking approach to EfS.

    Recycling separation behaviour in the Southern Metropolitan Region (with Katherine Gaschk).

    This research examines the self-reported separation behaviour of a sample of residents from five member councils within the South Metropolitan Regional Council of WA and compares it to the separation requirements of the Council’s Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC). Using a mixed methodology the factors that influence the recycling and separation behaviour of the residents are explored and strategies for increasing the rates of correct separation are considered. Through interviews the perceived barriers that prevent correct separation behaviour are examined from resident and local government perspectives in order to identify potential motivators for residential behaviour change.

    Factors influencing the survival of freshwater turtles in the urban environment(with Caitlin Bartholomaeus & Dr Jane Chambers).

    This interdisciplinary project explores the role of ecological and social research in understanding population dynamics of freshwater turtles in an urban environment. The project examines populations of Chelodina oblonga (a native freshwater turtle), the types of habitats it utilises in the urban environment and the interaction between humans and this species in suburban Perth. Social science, citizen science, urban ecology, and freshwater turtle ecology are integrated to address the questions:
    * What are the available resources for Chelodina colliei in urban ecosystems?
    * How does (direct) human modification of wetlands affect Chelodina colliei populations?
    * What value does community data and citizen science add to ecological research?
    * What are the attitudes of urban residents towards wetlands and wildlife.
    * In what ways do humans interact with turtles and what are the likely outcomes?

    ‘How do residential gardens contribute towards urban biodiversity? An assessment of garden vegetation, avian use, and residents’ behaviours and attitudes in urban front gardens’  (with Rafeena Boyle & Dr Joe Fontaine).

    This project examines the role that private gardens play in ecological connectivity and supporting biodiversity in an urban landscape, especially relating to flora composition, bird diversity and gardening behaviour.

    The Ten Tonne Plan: Education for Sustainability From a Whole Systems Thinking Perspective (with Dr Elaine Lewis & Dr Caroline Mansfield).

    The Ten Tonne Plan is a greenhouse gas emissions reduction initiative that aimed to reduce school emissions by 10 tonnes (metric tons) in one year. A case study was conducted on the impact of this initiative at a primary school in Western Australia. Research investigated student, staff, parent, and community partner perceptions following participation. Results showed the school achieved its goal through the implementation of a variety of environmental and social actions undertaken by the whole school community. Findings identified strengths and weaknesses of the initiative. The Ten Tonne Plan provided a model that is applicable in a variety of school settings. The results of this study have now been published.

    The development, implementation and evaluation of an education intervention to decrease materialistic values and consumption behaviour (with Jane Genovese & Associate Professor John Bailey).

    It has been argued that overconsumption driven by the materialistic values of the West is a root cause of the environmental crisis we currently find ourselves in (Kasser, 2002). Whilst research scholars now have a better understanding of materialism and the factors that lead individuals to over-consume, very little research has been conducted that explores effective ways to decrease individuals’ material consumption. The aim of this research is to design, implement and evaluate an education intervention that decreases individuals’ materialistic values and material consumption.

    Best practice management strategies for Decentralised Wastewater Treatments and Recycling Systems (DeWaTARS) in WA Urban villages (with Beth Strang & Dr Martin Anda).

    The aim of this research is to investigate the issues developers have during the installation, monitoring and management of decentralised systems, in order to develop a process for the application and management of decentralised wastewater treatment and recycling systems (DeWaTARS), that is suitable for implementation in developments of various sizes, technologies, economics and management arrangement. The DeWaTARS Framework will highlight the importance of education and training as well as the necessity to build good relationships with both the regulatory bodies and the community.

    Integrating ‘Climate Thinking’ into agricultural decision making (with Janet Conte & Professor Tom Lyons).

    The climate of Western Australia is changing, partly as a result of natural processes and partly due to the actions of human beings.  The change is predicted to affect the climate and climate variability of the south-west in particular, which already has a highly variable climate, having a significant impact on the WA grainbelt.  Farmers can use climate risk management (CRM) to help make better strategic and tactical decisions to adapt to climate variability and enhance their profitability and sustainability.  CRM information and tools (such as climate predictions, decision-support tools, information technologies, etc) are used to manage the causes and consequences of climate variability to minimise negative outcomes and maximise the positive. The uptake of this type of CRM in WA has been fairly low and in order to improve both the triple bottom line outcomes of individual farmers and the grains industry, the use of available climate information and tools needs to be enhanced.   This research aims to explores the application of self regulation of learning theory to the design of extension/educational materials and events to compare the learning outcomes and adoption of CRM information and tools with those resulting from traditional materials and events.

    Winning with the Laggards: A proposal for light industrial SME research to improve the environmental risk management of the poorest performers (with Paul Lock & SERCUL).

    The primary aim of this research project is to identify factors likely to significantly improve environmental outcomes, and the cost effectiveness of light industrial environmental management regulation, particularly amongst the poorest performing micro enterprises.

    Education for Sustainability across borders: Investigating the Bottol for Bottle program in Indonesia and Australia (with Christine Parfitt & Dr Carol Warren).




    • Kreplins, T., Gaynor, A., Kennedy, M., Baudains, C., Adams, P., Bateman, P., Fleming, P., (2018), What to call a dog? A review of the common names for free-ranging dogs, Pacific Conservation Biology: a journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region, Online Aug 2018, , pages -.
    • Buizer, M., Ruthrof, K., Moore, S., Veneklaas, E., Hardy, G., Baudains, C., (2015), A Critical Evaluation of Interventions to Progress Transdisciplinary Research, Society and Natural Resources, 28, 6, pages 670 - 681.
    • Boyd, D., Buizer, M., Schibeci, R., Baudains, C., (2015), Prompting transdisciplinary research: Promising futures for using the performance metaphor in research, Futures, 65, 0, pages 175 - 184.
    • Lewis, E., Mansfield, C., Baudains, C., (2014), Ten Tonne Plan: Education for Sustainability From a Whole Systems Thinking Perspective, Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 13, 2, pages 128 - 141.
    • Kurz, T., Baudains, C., (2012), Biodiversity in the front yard: An investigation of landscape preference in a domestic urban context, Environment and Behavior, 44, 2, pages 166 - 196.
    • Conte, J., Baudains, C., Lyons, T., (2010), Connecting the dots: What can we learn from other disciplines about behaviour change?, Extension Farming Systems Journal, 6, 1, pages 105 - 109.
    • Lewis, E., Mansfield, C., Baudains, C., (2010), Going on a turtle egg hunt and other adventures: Education for sustainability in early childhood, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 35, 4, pages 95 - 100.
    • Lewis, E., Baudains, C., Mansfield, C., (2009), The Impact of AuSSI-WA at a Primary School, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 25, , pages 45 - 57.
    • Lewis, E., Baudains, C., Mansfield, C., (2009), Engaging students in science: Turtle Nestwatch, Teaching Science, 55, 1, pages 50 - 53.
    • Lewis, E., Mansfield, C., Baudains, C., (2008), Getting down and dirty: Values in education for sustainability, Issues in Educational Research, 18, 2, pages 138 - 155.
    • Lewis, E., Mansfield, C., Baudains, C., Marcus, L., Dundas, B., (2008), Healing the Swan: Integrating Science, SCIOS : official organ of the Science Teachers' Association of Western Australia, 44, 3, pages 16 - 19.
    • Lewis, E., Baudains, C., (2007), Raining Frogs: An Education for Sustainability Project, SCIOS : official organ of the Science Teachers' Association of Western Australia, 43, 3, pages 25 - 29.
    • Baudains, C., Dingle, P., (1998), Developing environmentally responsible citizens, The Social Educator, 16, 1, pages 9 - 14.


    • Lewis, E., Baudains, C., Mansfield, C., (2016),360 degrees of change: 360 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions reduction in a school setting,In: the 19th Biennial Conference For The Australian Association For Environmental Education.
    • Schibeci, R., Boyd, D., Buizer, M., Baudains, C., (2012),Inspiring a nation to lead the world in science through public engagement? The role of STEM research centres,In: Public Communication of Science and Technology.
    • Lewis, E., Baudains, C., Mansfield, C., (2008),Making waves,In: 15th Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) Biennial Conference (2008).
    • Lewis, E., Baudains, C., Mansfield, C., (2008),Turtle Watch: Community contribution to environmental impact asessment,In: 28th International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Annual Conference (2008).
    • Strang, B., Anda, M., Baudains, C., (2008),Decentralised wastewater treatment and recycling systems: The new management team approach,In: Onsite and Decentralised Sewerage & Recycling Conference (2008).
    • Baudains, C., (2007),Environmental Education for Air Quality: Evaluation for best practice,In: 14th International Union of Air Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection Associations (IUAPPA) World Congress 2007.
    • Strang, B., Anda, M., Baudains, C., Ho, G., (2007),Wastewater Treatment and Recycling in Urban Villages: Western Australian Case Studies,In: 16th National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) Annual Technical Education Conference and Exposition (2007).
    • Dingle, P., Baudains, C., Fox, J., (2007),Towards further positive ageing,In: Australian Association of Gerontology40th National ConferenceBeyond 2007, Ageing: Evolution and Revolution.
    • Strang, B., Anda, M., Baudains, C., Ho, G., (2007),Case Study of Subsurface Wetlands as Wastewater Treatment and Recycling Options,In: 16th National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) Annual Technical Education Conference and Exposition (2007).
    • Strang, B., Anda, M., Baudains, C., Ho, G., (2007),Decentralised Wastewater Recycling Systems: Community Acceptance in Urban WA,In: 2nd ASPIRE Conference and Exhibition: Water and Sanitation in the Asia-Pacific Region: Opportunities, Challenges and Technology.
    • Strang, B., Anda, M., Ho, G., Baudains, C., (2007),Decentralised wastewater treatment and recycling systems (DeWaTARS) - a step forward for Western Australia,In: Australian Water Association (AWA) OzWater Conference 2007.
    • Baudains, C., (2006),Environmental Education for Sustainability: Preparing the practitioners,In: 14th Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) Biennial Conference (2006).
    • Baudains, C., (2006),Environmental Education for Restoration of Urban Biodiversity,In: 14th Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) Biennial Conference (2006).
    • Phillips, R., Baudains, C., Van Keulen, M., (2002),An Evaluation Of Student Learning In A Web-Supported Unit On Plant Diversity,In: 19th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education(ASCILITE) (2002).
    • Baudains, C., Van Keulen, M., Phillips, R., (2002),Learning Botany: Evaluation of a Web-supported Unit on Plant Diversity,In: 19th - 25th Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conferences (HERDSA) (1996-2002).
    • Baudains, C., Dingle, P., Styles, I., (2002),Greening commuter mode choice through workplace intervention: Comparative effectiveness of three behaviour change strategies and implications for reducing car dependency in Perth, Western Australia,In: European Transport Conference.
    • Phillips, R., Baudains, C., (2002),Effectiveness of Web-based Materials to Support Learning in Botany,In: International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE) (2002).
    • Baudains, C., Styles, I., (2001),Changing commuter transport behaviour: What works best? Strategies for Environmental Education in an Adult learning context,In: AARE 2001.