Creating Effective Outreach Strategies
Outreach programs should focus on the firewood pathway, rather than on a specific pest. Outreach needs to provide consistent, and accessible information to outdoor recreationalists about the threat posed by movement of forest pests on infested firewood, and what they do to protect trees from this threat. Outreach programs can start with a simple core statement and then build to include many formats. Outreach that builds upon a written plan will be more effective in delivering a consistent message.
- Develop a Core Outreach Statement that contains two key concepts that are simple, brief, and public-friendly, so that any relevant state agencies or related stakeholders can copy and use it for consistent messaging. This statement should be short enough to go onto a postcard. The key concepts should cover (1) what firewood user behaviors are desired by the state in order to minimize the movement of forest pests and pathogens, and (2) why the state cares. Examples include:
- Montana: Don’t Move Firewood: Help protect Montana forests! Prevent the spread of tree-killing insects and diseases –buy or gather firewood at or near your destination. Moving firewood across state lines is prohibited in many parts of the United States.
- New Hampshire: Protect New Hampshire’s Forests: Transporting firewood threatens our forests by potentially giving a free ride to insects and diseases. Help protect New Hampshire’s wild and scenic beauty and leave your firewood at home when you travel. Don’t transport pests – when it comes to firewood, buy it where you burn it.
- Wisconsin: Protect Wisconsin Trees – Don’t Move Firewood. Tree-killing pests can travel long distances on firewood so please help protect our beautiful trees and forests by buying certified firewood or local firewood at your destination.
- Seek input, and ultimately consensus, on the Core Outreach Statement from all relevant state agencies and partner organizations. Critical Partners may include (this will vary by state): State Forester, US Forest Service, State Dept. of Natural Resources, State Dept. of Agriculture, USDA APHIS, State Dept. of Conservation, US Fish and Wildlife, State Fish & Game, Parks & Recreation, National Park Service units within the state, Invasive Species Statewide Councils, Bureau of Land Management, etc.
- Once the Core Outreach Statement is accepted among the critical partners, move to have all consensus parties (as identified in Step 2) agree to use the statement on their relevant webpages.
- Establish a Firewood Pathway state-owned webpage within a state agency website. See Website Development for information about recommended content.
- Have all consensus parties (as identified in Step 2) include links to the state webpage and the Don’t Move Firewood map page on their sites.
- States with regulations pertaining to firewood movement can use their Firewood Pathway webpage as a springboard or landing area to other pages where they can cover any applicable messaging. States may develop sub-pages on interstate import regulations, intrastate movement regulations, certification processes, rules for firewood on state and federal land, how to buy local firewood, etc.
- States with no significant regulations pertaining to firewood movement may find that a single webpage is sufficient for the message they wish to deliver. If this is the case, consider linking to Don’tMoveFirewood.org for more information.
- States with State Parks, National Parks, National Forest land, and other camping facility ownerships can encourage each entity to mirror their states’ Core Outreach Statement.
- Further Audience Outreach targeting messaging to specific audiences. Use the Audience Outreach Chart from Appendix 2 of the 2010 “National Firewood Task Force Recommendations”.
- Review Outreach Activities to help determine how to deploy limited outreach dollars.
- Review outreach materials available on Don’tMoveFirewood.org for available designs to encourage consistency of messaging between states.
- Develop a firewood directory in your state. See Create an On-Line Firewood Directory for more information.