Explore how recent UNSW PhD graduate Dr. Gretchen Miller enabled environmentally-concerned citizens to tell their inspiring stories about rescuing their ‘home ground’ and its animal inhabitants in a time of environmental crisis.

The overview

The Rescue Project, which won the 2022 UNSW Faculty Award for The Best Doctoral Thesis and the 2022 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Thesis, considers how people, in a time of environmental crisis, gather courage and come together to rescue animals and their natural habitats. Using a publicly accessible website to gather stories from rescuers - our citizen storytellers - the project has resulted in a podcast series titled The Rescue Project. These four podcasts immerse listeners in the ‘home ground’ of the storytellers, communicating their inspiring accounts of environmental rescue to spark hope and to motivate others to build a more regenerative world.

Landcare Rescue Project

Research duration
January 2018 - December 2021

Lead researcher
Gretchen Miller
UNSW PhD candidate

Funding partner
Landcare Australia

Research area
Environment & Society

“The Rescue Project seeks to understand how we can communicate environmental crisis in a way which inspires hope and courage.”

- Gretchen Miller, UNSW PhD candidate

Featured podcasts

On Home Ground

Home Ground can mean many things. A place you live, a place you’ve developed a relationship with over time, or further ranging territory you travel across in your day to day. And in this episode, three stories of care for the land.
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On Animals

Hear three short stories which capture deep interactions between humans and other creatures. We spend time at a wombat rehab centre, hear about how a kangaroo joey helped heal a family after loss, and meet a southern giant petrel.
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On The Atherton Tablelands

We immerse ourselves in the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland - a World Heritage Area - to discover how inspiring community members are contributing to land regeneration and remaining hopeful during global climate disruption.
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The solution

The Rescue Project is a brilliant demonstration of how the modern format of podcasting and audio design can be used to tell stories of hope, courage and individual and democratic action. Ultimately, it hopes to inspire listeners to take their own action to care for their surrounding environment. Tema Milstein, Associate Professor of Environment & Society, was Dr. Miller’s supervisor for her PhD.

“It sounds amazing - love the bird calls and flapping wings in amongst the local voices - The Rescue Project captures the essence of Landcare so well.”

- James Link, Head Corporate Partnerships, Landcare Australia

The outcomes

  • Released podcast The Rescue Project – 2,300 listens (at time of publication - October 2019)
  • Publicly available citizen storytelling website: 50+ stories uploaded and 6,000 story views
  • Broadcast on ABC Local (Far North Queensland) with audience figures around 50,000. Broadcast on MainFM (Victoria) audience 3-4,000
  • Broadcast on various community stations nationally
  • Short stories broadcast on ABC RN (Life Matters and The Science Show) and on ABC Port Macquarie
  • Released as podcast episodes on the Climactic Podcast 

Become a research partner

Contact us

Faculty Research Office
Research Hub, Level 1 
John Goodsell Building
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052

Email: fass.fro@unsw.edu.au

HDR Research Office
Research Hub, Level 1 
John Goodsell Building
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052