Check out this sweet video.
Check out this sweet video.
As part of a six-month series on district operations, the Did You Know? monthly feature in eResource will highlight chapters of the NACD District Outlook Task Force report: “Blueprint for Locally-Led Conservation – A Strategy for District Success and Sustainability” (available here on our website). This month’s chapter tackles communications.
For most conservation districts, many of their residents, landowners, and local and state government officials, have little or no knowledge of what a district is, much less what a district can or is currently doing to conserve their community’s valuable natural resources.
Each district’s survival depends on having a good communications plan that reaches out to all the constituents in their district. This plan should be comprehensive but also feasible given the resources available (e.g. personnel, training, finances, etc.).
In implementing this plan, districts can draw on resources provided by their traditional partners – state/territory associations, state/territory agencies, NACD, and NRCS – and illicit help from other partners in accomplishing their outreach goals. Conservation districts are where the work ultimately gets done, but districts need to work with and through partners to accomplish their missions.
The survival of conservation districts depends on having a clear identity as a local entity as well as being part of a state and national conservation network and partnership. Conservation districts need to ensure that public officials and community groups recognize them as the “go to” organization leader for working with natural resource conservation issues. Together, we are stronger as part of a local/state/federal partnership network than as individual conservation districts.
The manner in which the public receives information has evolved and requires timely and concise communications. No longer is a quarterly newsletter or occasional article in the newspaper adequate. Successful conservation districts have harnessed the power of email, the internet, and social media to spread the word about their activities and create dialogue with customers. This requires a coordinated effort and planning by the district board and staff.
Every effort should be part of an overall communications plan which links to community needs, values, and concerns. Districts need to be aware of state and federal laws governing the public’s right to access government data, their obligation to produce such data and data privacy laws. Understanding the various data practices and laws can be complex when state and federal laws conflict. Conservation districts will have to be conscientious of data practice laws while communicating the public value of their efforts, including conservation results and outcomes.
Conservation districts need to develop and implement a communications plan that clearly articulates their identity and message consistently across all media while maximizing contacts for the district, its partners, the public, and government leaders. A successful communication plan includes these characteristics:
In what may come as no surprise, politics dominate this week’s edition of The Montana Conservationist. We take a look at how the national stage may affect our local efforts:
All of that, plus more workshops than your wildest dreams (what’s that? You don’t dream about attending workshops? Just me then…). It’s The Montana Conservationist for the first day of February: TMC 2017-02-01
2338 Attendance at the Area II meeting was good with 60 participants at the meeting that was held in Wibaux MT
2342 Retiring supervisor and treasurer Wayne Mangold from Little Beaver Conservation District and Emcee for the meeting, Bob Petermann from Wibaux Conservation District
2363 Administrators from Area II: from Left to right, Stephanie Carroll, Carter County CD; Sarafina Claeys, Little Beaver Conservation District; Sandra Brown, Prairie County CD; Julie Goss, Richland County CD; Nikki Wesolek, Dawson County CD; Carol Watts, Custer Co CD; Liz Riter, Powder River CD; Renee Nelson, Wibaux CD.
Each year, the MACDEO offers a few scholarships for administrators/conservation district employees to attend the annual convention. You must be a member of the MACDEO with dues current in order to apply.
Here is the application for 2016: 2016-blank-scholarship-app
I recently read an article by a family friend, Lisa Benenson, that I thought the Conservation District community may find enlightening. Continue reading
Greetings, all! Here are the minutes from the EO’s spring 2016 quarterly meeting phone call.
The EO received reports from Area representatives, Dave Martin from DNRC, and Elena Evans from MACD. Continue reading
Julie Goss put together this list of tasks that need to be accomplished each month. A very useful resource for new & experienced administrators to keep on top of the duties that only occur once or twice per year. Continue reading
I saw this post on digitalgov.gov, a segment of the General Services Administration that helps federal agencies augment their online presences. They’ve got lots of other great resources, ideas, and topics for government organizations like ours. Check it out here.
By ALYSON OLANDER. Posted November 10, 2015.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Instagram lately.
It’s pretty big, especially among the younger populations (AKA. Millennials).
Actually, from what I can tell, it’s pretty big with lots of different age groups, genders, and ethnicities; and it’s growing every day.
Full disclosure: I use Instagram in my personal life. I love it. Especially now that our phone cameras have improved beyond what most people can manage with a DSLR. Especially since micro-blogging took hold.
But the question today is, how can we, as government communicators, leverage this platform to greatest effect?
There’s a couple agencies out there that have taken the bull by the horns and managed to hang on for the ride: the Transportation Security Administration (@TSAon Instagram) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior on Instagram). They both post photographs, but the similarities, at least on the surface, end there.
U.S. Interior posts beautiful, well-composed, high-quality photos and occasional videos of our national parks and wildlife. They regularly receive upwards of 20,000 likes on their images and have undoubtedly been seen by many more people than that. They post at least once per day, sometimes twice.
One of the most beautiful and most photographed scenes in #GrandTeton #NationalPark in Wyoming is #SchwabacherLanding. On any given morning, a crowd will gather to shoot the reflection of the Teton Range in the quiet stream or beaver ponds. A few years ago, D. Brent Young was lucky enough to capture this amazing photo of a cow #moose feeding in the stream with fall color and the towering Teton peaks in the background. Photo of @grandtetonnps by D. Brent Young (www.sharetheexperience.org).
TSA posts small, sometimes grainy, sometimes bland photos of the strange things people try to smuggle onto airplanes. They have expanded now to post photos of their adorable and highly skilled 4-legged employees, along with reminders of the rules for safe airline travel. They post less frequently—sometimes with several days between posts.
So what are these government agencies doing right? They’re creating content that people want to see. They are sincere. Our parks really are that beautiful! Some people really think they can smuggle “Batarangs” on an airplane! When I think about scrolling through my feed on IG, it goes something like this: baby, baby, selfie, coffee, STRANGE LOOKING WEAPON THAT SOMEONE TRIED TO SMUGGLE ONTO A PLANE, baby, food, STUNNING NATIONAL PARK PHOTO, selfie, selfie, selfie. What do you think I’m most likely to stop on?
@TSA and @USinterior don’t necessarily “engage” in the traditional sense, but their imagery CONNECTS. Their content is accessible. Many Americans have experienced taking off their shoes in the airport—now they have chuckle about it because they understand the reason. Our national parks are more accessible to most people than the far reaches of this planet. Visitors can connect these images to their own lives; feel nostalgia for them; laugh about them with friends and family.
Unfortunately, many agencies don’t have these visual resources to work with, so we need to create them. Graphics aren’t right: People visit Instagram for photos, not infographics. (although the occasional one, used where appropriate, isn’t a bad idea). So here’s my charge to you as government communicators engaged in social media—figure out how your agency can use Instagram. Post an idea here. Let’s start a conversation.
The Instagram help center is pretty robust, but here are some links to get you started:
So, what do you think? How could Conservation Districts use Instagram to connect with your constituents? FULL DISCLOSURE: MACD doesn’t use Instagram yet. But I’m thinking about it. And in my personal life, it’s my favorite social media (I’m @sturdykate).
To spur some ideas, here are a couple of Montana Conservation Organizations that do a great job with their Instagram accounts: (click on the blue name to see their full feed).
The muskrats have been busy up on Governor Creek. Just like beavers muskrats are free engineers. But unlike beavers muskrats do not build damns, they build push-ups. Push-ups help maintain open areas in wetlands and provide habitat for aquatic birds. #busyasbeavers #muskrat #nature #willows #riverlife #creaturefeature #creek #animals #engineers #naturephotography A photo posted by Big Hole Watershed Committee (@bighole_watershed) on
Got in the last bit of monitoring yesterday before the snow flew. We measured streamflow or the amount of water flowing in the West Fork to help assess pollutant loads in our #watershed. Did you know that 4 inches of wet, heavy snow holds about 1 inch of water? #winteriscoming #gallatinriver #coldwater #cleanwater #bigskyresort #simmsfishing
Good afternoon from the Tributary Fire A photo posted by Michael Gue (@young_men_and_fire) on
Below please find the agenda for the EO’s fall meeting at the 2015 MACD Convention. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 17, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm at the Holiday Inn in downtown Missoula. Please check MACD’s convention agenda for specific room assignments.