What's Working for Conservation
Promoting Water Quality Projects: The East Metro Water Resource Education Program (EM WREP) (16
Conservation District, Watershed District, County and City partners) coordinates outreach with technical assistance provided by the Washington Conservation District and cost-share funding provided by the Watershed Districts. Interested homeowners (also businesses, churches and schools) learn about Blue Thumb (coordinated planting for clean water marketing efforts) through EMWREP outreach activities (neighborhood parties, workshops, presentations and news articles). Washington Conservation District provides free site visits for anyone in Washington County. Watersheds provide cost-share grants (up to 50%) for qualifying projects. Washington Conservation District has contracts with many of the watershed districts to provide garden design and installation assistance as well. 55 projects were installed with partners in 2008 (Washington Conservation District).
DNR Roadsides for Wildlife uses five main educational/advertising strategies: An annual poster and mailings to road authorities and wildlife affiliates; Brochures, website, and DVDs, aluminum Roadsides for Wildlife signs; targeted conference presentations and booths; Cooperation with other educators and conservation groups; and Targeting of K-8 teachers and students through curriculum activities (DNR Roadsides for Wildlife Program).
Pollinator Outreach: We have tied our Prairie Restoration program to the National Pollinator Protection Campaign. In doing so we have partnered with other public entities during National Pollinator Week to host an event to increase local awareness (Gina Hugo, Sherburne SWCD).
Newspaper Articles: Submitting articles to the local newspapers on prairie projects that have a human interest spin has also helped to increase awareness (Gina Hugo, Sherburne SWCD).
Landowner Engagement: It has been important in all our successful plantings to offer as much assistance as possible. This includes enough financial incentive to make the final out-of-pocket cost for private landowners and public land managers low to none. We find that the best ownership happens when some portion of the installation or site preparation be done with the landowner (Gina Hugo, Sherburne SWCD).
Direct Contact with Landowners: The best way to promote projects is one on one contact with individuals. Radio programs have had some success, holding district/NRCS meetings across the county where producers come to us has also been successful (Redwood SWCD)