EPA Victoria WiR April 2024 Update

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Wikipedian in Residence boosts EPA Victoria’s presence on Wikipedia.
, Olivia Fougerais.

Wikimedian in Residence, Olivia at EPA Victoria

As this is the end of my project at Environment Protection Authority Victoria, let me share with you my statistics and thoughts on all the work I have done.

I edited 168 pages, added 277 references, and about 38,000 words across Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata. I uploaded around 35 photos on Commons, including a majority from EPA Victoria’s internal library shared kindly by EPA’s graphiste, and used 27 of them on Wikipedia.

Overall, EPA Victoria’s presence on Wikipedia has been boosted by about 220% which includes references to EPA’s website, link to EPA’s Wikipedia article on other articles, and mentions of Environment Protection Authority Victoria on the platform. I am quite proud of this accomplishment.

I published 6 new Wikipedia articles:

While the stats on the six pages I created are not amazing yet, I believe they are necessary to have around.

Here are two examples:

The REDcycle program was a return-to-store soft plastic recycling initiative started in 2010/2011 and suspended in 2022 after it was discovered that the soft plastics were stockpiled instead of recycled causing a fire risk. This was big news in 2022 as one of the major recycling collapses in Australia and many people were shocked and disappointed, including myself. That’s why it was the first page I wanted to create within this residency. I am proud to say that since, its publication, this article exceeded 700 views and has had very consistent statistics since it was created and I couldn’t feel more satisfied about it.

A General environmental duty is a legal obligation introduced in Victorian law recently and is carried out by each person to mitigate their actions to avoid unnecessary and excessive impact on the environment. As it is still quite recent, sharing more about this duty is helping to spread its importance and understanding for Victorians and Australians.

At first, I was focused on creating new quality pages but I quickly felt stuck as I wanted them to be perfect. It took me a bit to fully embrace the fact that a page doesn’t have to be perfect and metres long before it is published. As long as it has several good references and is relevant, it can be published and updated later on.

I also realised that creating new pages was not the best approach when trying to reach more people, so I started a new strategy: Adding recent environmental issues that EPA had to deal with onto existing articles.

This is when I started adding an Environmental issues heading to relevant Victorian suburb pages, like Cranbourne. While it doesn’t seem that I added that much to each page, it took me a while to narrow down several pages of information from various sources to convey the information in the best way possible. I’m proud to say I didn’t get as many headaches as I thought I would.

From that point, seeing my statistics skyrocket was very satisfying, and I was unstoppable.

I came across several environmental issues with landfills across Victoria and I never expected to enjoy researching about them as much as I did. Interestingly, the landfill pictures are the ones with the highest numbers of views on Commons as well.

View of SBI landfill in Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia.

This EPA picture of the SBI landfill in Cranbourne reached 1,600 views in February.

One of the most important achievements of the project was when I did a presentation for the communications team at EPA Victoria. I enjoyed being able to explain from scratch the objectives of Wikimedia projects and how my work not only improved the reach of EPA’s information but could also serve greater environmental awareness purposes.

I was excited to see that my work was appreciated and everyone understood the purpose of contributing to Wikimedia projects. I hope it lit a little spark in their interest and that a lot of people will join editathons and Wiki workshops in the future.

This presentation really made me want to communicate even more on my work, because editing is a small part of the impact, and initiating and training people to edit is the most important part. If I had to work on Part 2 of this project, I would focus more on that.

Unfortunately, this is the end of this project and of my experience in Australia as I will be moving back to Europe next month, but I will keep myself informed on EPA’s work and keep editing environmental pages, whether Australian or European.

I can’t wait to see other editors contribute to all the pages I created, and see all the environmental issues headings I started on many suburb pages expanded further.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be getting in touch with European communities to keep spreading environmental knowledge on the platforms!

Some of the images added to Wikimedia Commons throughout my residency.

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