Many land conservation nonprofits in the bay area have locally focused goals or land acquisition targets, but the Bay Area Open Space Council (BAOSC) is the unique glue that effectively bonds us together around important causes. On September 29, 2016, BAOSC hosted an informative presentation and panel discussion on how local nonprofits are using social media for land conservation in the Bay Area. About 125 representatives attended, and we were all curious on how to better engage the public with all the tools available today.

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(Photo: Annie Burke of Bay Area Open Space Council, Lesley Hunt of Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation, Karen Whitestone EBCNPS, at the Brower Center in Berkeley)

I saw some familiar faces over lunch! And made valuable new connections. How do we use images to win hearts and minds, and get work done? This is truly the question of our century. My main takeaway was the importance of strategy and planning before tactics. Was I tempted to go sign us up immediately for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram accounts? Of course. EBCNPS can better learn how to use these tools in advocacy for land use decisions (favoring parks and open space, and associated public health benefits), and attracting attention of public citizens and public officials. We need a strategy in place, and I am excited to bring this information to our Conservation Committee and the chapter overall. We also should be prepared to continually generate shareable content and feed these channels, in order to get in front of a wider (hint, mobile) audience.

Do you have ideas for setting out our strategy? Is this an area where you have skills to share with EBCNPS? Consider volunteering with us to boost awareness for our organization.

Karen Whitestone

conservation@ebcnps.org

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