Backyard Biodiversity videos top of the pops

A national poll has given ‘top of the pops’ honours to a home-grown Taranaki video series encouraging families to engage with the environment during lockdown.

Backyard Biodiversity – Taiao Taiepa Ki Tua, an impromptu 11-video series, was judged People’s Choice in a national vote among local body communications and data specialists. The videos were produced by educators from the Taranaki Regional Council and Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, Dr Emily Roberts and Ash Muralidhar, using limited equipment and props.

“It was a fantastic effort and the videos were hugely popular in Taranaki and beyond,” says the Council’s Director-Corporate Services, Mike Nield. “We’re delighted the project was voted People’s Choice in the special COVID-19 awards by the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM).”

The project was also third in the New Initiatives category of the awards.

During the Level 4 lockdown, Dr Roberts and Ms Muralidhar produced two videos a week. Their aim was to encourage entire households, especially children, to embark on backyard adventures to discover what bugs, birds, lizards, and plants have taken up residence in their gardens. The videos also cover simple steps to protect and enhance backyard habitats for native species

“Emily and Ash used whatever equipment they had at hand. This gave the videos an air of authenticity that led to great engagement from children and caregivers restricted to their homes,” says Mr Nield. The videos were also promoted on a Backyard Biodiversity Facebook page.

The total series achieved 45,592 video views, reaching 8,500 unique viewers on average per video. They also achieved 11,325 total engagements (averaging 1029 per video), delivering a strong engagement rate of 12%.

See the videos at

Check out the Facebook page at link)