About Me

This blog is primarily geared toward staff at the zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs), and other conservation education organizations that are part of our growing global network. We aim to provide you with cutting edge, challenging, and creative information, ideas, and tools to become as effective as possible at communicating about and for conservation with your visitors and the public.

See our ongoing communications research, or join our growing network, at The Ocean Project's website.

November 30, 2012

Communicating Conservation: Weekly Resources and News


The Ocean Project posts weekly roundups of the key strategic ocean and climate communication resources we’ve been tweeting. Each link will be posted with a short description of what you’ll find—please feel free to ask us any questions.


News & Discussion

Check out these timely articles and essays which may be helpful for framing various environmental issues, connecting with specific audiences, or otherwise informing your storytelling and communications.

  • Can a movie about ice melt deniers’ hearts?
    You may have heard about the recently released documentary Chasing Ice, which follows environmental photographer James Balog on assignment in the Arctic to capture images of melting glaciers.  This video of a woman tearfully talking about how the film changed her from global warming denier to activist went viral last week and raised the question—how much can a film do to change hearts and mind on environmental issues?

  • World Bank: "4°C Warming Simply Must Not Be Allowed To Occur"
    The World Bank releases a disturbing report on how four degrees of warming would change life on Earth for humans. Basically, it’s not good, especially for impoverished areas. Worse? We’re on schedule to reach four degrees of warming by the year 2100.

  • The Rise of Mobile News and Implications for Climate Change Coverage
    A recent report from Pew found that half of the US adult population has a mobile internet-connected device, two-thirds of which use those devices to access news. In a world where news consumers often get their news exclusively from sources they already agree with, and where news often arrives with minimal context, what does this mean for climate change communication?

  • The Reality of Coal Mining Jobs
    The debate over coal in the US is often framed as JOB KILLERS vs. HARDWORKING AMERICANS, but is this story really accurate? The short answer: nope. SightlineDaily gives a very interesting overview of the issue.

Resources

Some new studies, market research, toolkits, and strategies that may be helpful when communicating about conservation and climate change.

  • Urgency for Action Increasing in America
    ecoAffect sums up a recent poll showing that 82% Democrats, 73% Independents and 50% of Republicans show desire for climate action as they worry about extreme weather and its associated growing costs. 65%, a majority of voters want immediate action and urge for renewable energy over fossil fuels or the tar sand pipeline.

  • Two articles about solutions
    We enjoyed two complimentary articles about overcoming hurdles to climate change communication from ClimateAccess recently. Entering the Murky Solutions Space by Cara Pike and Motivating Climate Action with Stories, Ethics, Faith and Fun by Meredith Herr break down some simple ways to connect with your audience about solutions to the climate crisis. Both articles are chock full of interesting ideas and tons of links for further reading.

November 27, 2012

Diversifying our Conservation Portfolio for Change


Youth and minorities are not only important voting blocs as evidenced by the recent US elections, but The Ocean Project’s market research has identified them as important constituencies in conservation action. In addition to working with North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Seattle Aquarium, and New York Aquarium, to develop youth-centered campaigns, The Ocean Project has also been active in working within the zoo, aquarium and museum community on diversity issues. 

Minorities are currently underrepresented in conservation, but our research and other studies have shown that they have great potential for conservation impact. Our Communications Project Director, Wei Ying Wong, has been collating information on the whys and hows of diversifying audiences, staff, and vendors as part of her Toyota-Audubon Together Green Fellowship. This fellowship has also allowed her to work with Philadelphia Zoo to develop protocols to engage stakeholders from communities of color. 

Wei Ying will continue serving on the AZA diversity committee as The Ocean Project remains focused on empowering minorities and youth in leading the charge for conservation action.  

November 16, 2012

Communicating Conservation: Weekly Resources and News


The Ocean Project posts weekly roundups of the key strategic ocean and climate communication resources we’ve been tweeting. Each link will be posted with a short description of what you’ll find—please feel free to ask us any questions! 

News & Discussion

Check out these timely articles and essays which may be helpful for framing various environmental issues, connecting with specific audiences, or otherwise informing your storytelling and communications.

  • TV Media Covered Biden's Smile Nearly Twice As Much As Climate Change
    MediaMatters takes another dive down the rabbit hole of US television and print news with distressing findings, this time looking at the three months leading up to the presidential election. Major cable and broadcast networks, aside from MSNBC, barely covered climate change and often failed to involve scientists when they did. Hurricane Sandy was the major driver of climate change discussion.



Resources

Some new studies, market research, toolkits, and strategies that may be helpful when communicating about conservation and climate change.

November 13, 2012

The Ocean Project Small Grant winners announced!


Thanks to all who applied for a grant from The Ocean Project’s Small Grants Program.

With thanks to NOAA Education, as part of a three-year grant in 2010, The Ocean Project created a competitive small grants program to provide our partner (and AZA accredited) zoos and aquariums with funding support to maximize our research. The grant program goals include developing a demonstration project that integrates and tests our research findings and enhances meaningful participation in conservation action by youth and/or minorities. We recently culminated a third and final round of grants, and hope to be able to continue this small grants program into the future. 

We had an extremely competitive pool of applicants this round and our Advisory Panel had a challenging time deciding on the award winners. They were very pleased with the quality of the proposals and significant shift in the ways that zoos and aquariums are thinking about audience research to communicate strategically for conservation action. After an extensive selection process, we are pleased to announce the following grant recipients:

Brevard Zoo ($10,000) "Zoo Teen's Youth Environmental Summit" will support an event planned by youth from their Zoo Teen program. Teen leaders will be trained in conservation issues and mentored in event planning. Summit attendees will hear about environmental concerns, attend workshops, meet like-minded peers, participate in hands-on projects and collaborate in small groups. Participants will set goals focused on how they can make a difference for conservation and will be encouraged to share their progress. The Zoo will also develop a ‘handbook’ for best practices for dissemination among The Ocean Project's partner network. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium ($15,000) “Young Women in Science: Ocean Guardians Summer Program” will engage young women, particularly Latinas, in ocean conservation activities. Addressing complex environmental issues like climate change requires a science-literate population, yet nationally women and minorities are underrepresented in the sciences. Many young women are disengaged or discouraged from an interest in the sciences, yet we know youth are the most willing to act on environmental issues. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s bilingual Ocean Guardians program will address this problem through a variety of activities.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum ($15,000) “Desert-Ocean Connections” will utilize two brand new aquarium galleries at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, in Tucson, as the centerpiece for programming that will help Desert Museum visitors and community members appreciate the interdependence of the Gulf of California and Sonoran Desert ecosystems and water resources. The project will develop new interactive interpretive stations for the Desert Museum’s 30 Junior Docents, focused on sustainable seafood and desert waters. Junior Docents will be trained to lead these activities at the Museum and at other community events and will provide visitors with Seafood Watch materials as well as water harvesting tips they can use to be part of the solution right away.

Woodland Park Zoo ($10,000) "Woodland Park Zoo - Climate Change Curriculum” will build on findings from The Ocean Project’s market research to enhance zoo’s existing youth programs. Funding will allow Woodland Park Zoo to develop a new climate change curriculum. Through training and mentoring, it will empower youth to develop and implement conservation action projects. Youth participants will share project results with community members and zoo guests through presentations and social media, encouraging others to join them in taking conservation action.