Communication is the act of imparting or exchanging information. There are a variety of communication approaches that range from being resource intensive to being resource limited. Here, we broadly outline three communication approaches that can be carried out with varying degrees of on-the-ground labor, funding, and resources. The communication approaches we outline offer agencies and organizations the opportunity to choose a method that is feasible to implement based on their resources and capabilities.
Interpretation involves using interpretive principles to relay messages through a variety of mediums such as signs, talks, guided tours, exhibits, demonstrations, and information stations. Interpretation goes beyond providing factual information and strives to be interesting and entertaining to the audience.
According to the North American Association for Environmental Education, “environmental education (EE) is a process that helps individuals, communities, and organizations learn more about the environment and develop skills and understanding about how to address global challenges.”
Community outreach can be used to describe a range of activities that aim to inform, consult, or engage a target audience. The type of outreach performed and the degree of outreach conducted will depend on the organization’s or agency’s goal and target population.
Guidelines for Using Communication as a Strategy:
Why is Communication a Good Strategy to Use at My Site?
Instead of assuming that people are going to change their behavior if they are provided enough information, the communication strategy works to communicate important messages in clear and meaningful ways. Communication has the ability to remove knowledge gaps and relay campaign messages in a way that resonates with people.
This is a great strategy to use because it is adaptable, and it can be implemented with a wide range of resources and capabilities.
When it comes to communicating with the public, remember to use simple and positive messages.
Communication in Action
"Welcome to Folly, where Shorebirds are the Stars"
At Folly beach, managers commissioned a local artist to design and paint interactive art installations to highlight their campaign message “walk the waterline.” In addition to a photo display, red carpets were painted on the footpath to the beach as a reminder for people to “treat shorebirds like stars” and give them the “red carpet treatment.” This interpretive approach was a successful way to capture visitors’ attention and teach the whole family about shorebird-friendly behaviors.
Educating the Youth of Tybee Island
Implementers at Tybee Island hosted several educational programs to teach children of all ages about the local birds on Tybee Island and communicate the importance of giving birds space and walking on the wet sand. In all of these programs, students took an active role in shorebird conservation by making signs and posters that will be used all over the state of Georgia to help bring awareness to shorebirds and shorebird-friendly behaviors.
Share the Shore Day at Lido Beach
Lido Beach hosted a successful community outreach event, Share the Shore Day. Staff partnered with the Town of Hempstead and multiple environmental organizations to host bird walks, beach clean ups, and shorebird lessons. Engaging your target audience in activities and actions that benefit shorebirds can be a great way to demonstrate your desired behavior and communicate its importance in clear and meaningful ways.