Outreach and Education
Educate the public about the environment
As an advisory body, a commission must rely on research, education, community engagement, and various methods of persuasion to accomplish its goals. Public education is a primary ingredient and may involve explaining environmental issues and concerns directly to citizens. Building a strong network of volunteers and local officials who can promote ecological awareness in their communities is an important step in protecting our natural resources.
Adults and children enjoy learning about nature and commissions can offer many interesting topics to promote environmental awareness. Get kids outside for a visit to a vernal pool in spring or a hike in the town forest. Sponsor a presentation by an inspiring speaker at the library. Start promoting the event early in different media outlets and you may be surprised how many people attend!
Communicate with the public
How the public, particularly town residents, views a conservation commission will affect what that commission can accomplish. While the public image might not be the only reason for undertaking an activity, it should be considered.
There are several ways you can help educate the public. Your commission can contribute to your local town newsletter or update your website with helpful information. Whether you provide a printed or electronic account, it's great to let people know what your commission is up to!
Have you considered providing maps or other informational displays at your town meeting or town offices? Dust off that Natural Resource Inventory and share it with the community. Share pictures of your commission's events in the local news and post on social media!
Do you have a working relationship with your school, library, or another community group? Schools are often very appreciative of environmental education programs. NHACC developed keys to successful school connecting in this document: Engaging Youth in Conservation Commission Activities.
The most important thing is to get people outside to enjoy the environment. Coordinate hikes, birding adventures and other recreational activities as a way to educate the public and get them engaged in your mission to protect natural resources.