Getting in Step:
A Guide to Effective Outreach in Your Watershed
Barry Tonning, Lisa Knerr, Kellie DuBay, Marquietta Davis
workshop is intended for federal, state, and local agency staff;
drinking and wastewater utilities; and non-governmental organizations.
The workshop covers outreach, education, and public involvement
strategies linked to watershed assessment, planning, and management
The key to successful watershed outreach and public education programs
is targeting selected messages to specific audiences to achieve the
desired response. Shrinking budgets and increasing demands on water
resources mean that education/outreach efforts will have to be both
efficient and effective.
This workshop offers a step-by-step approach to planning and
implementing outreach and education programs to achieve significant
results with limited resources. The building blocks for such a process
include defining the program objective, identifying the audience,
developing the message, selecting a format, identifying distribution
venues, and evaluating the results. Each task involves careful attention
to process, a creative approach and a willingness to explore new
relationships and venues for message dissemination.
The workshop also covers the use of innovative designs, graphics,
photos, "hooks," and textual materials to enhance the visibility and
impact of water resource protection information. Watershed groups are
exploring web sites, subway dioramas, placards, billboards, pointless
pencils ("there's no point to non-point pollution") and other
high-impact marketing approaches to outreach and education. The workshop
will review some of these tools, including cost, and discuss how
targeting specific messages to particular audiences can help instill a
conservation ethic among various audiences.
The workshop also includes a section on partnering with the news media
to enhance outreach and education efforts. Approaches for increasing
coverage of watershed issues, restoration projects, and volunteer
monitoring programs are examined in detail. Attendees will learn how to
frame watershed protection messages for maximum impact by linking water
quality to values that are important to the public. A final section on
risk communication provides agency public information personnel and
watershed group representatives with insights on risk issues, how media
interviews are conducted, and offers tools and techniques to employ when
dealing with reporters or appearing in televised news programs.
For more information about the Getting in Step Guide or to view the Guide in PDF format, click here.
- Outreach process steps
- Tips on graphic material selection
- Layout and production
- Working with the news media