Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2004
Partnership Category - 3rd Place
|Company:||America’s Wetland Foundation, LA|
|Project Name:||America’s Wetland: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana|
The State of Louisiana has an impending environmental crisis that could have economic and ecological ramifications across the country and the world.
- Louisiana is losing 25-35 square miles of coastal wetlands per year,
- Few people within Louisiana, and even fewer nationwide, were aware of the problem and its possible economic and ecological impact
In order to raise public awareness of the impact Louisiana’s wetland loss has on the state, nation and world and gain support for efforts to conserve and save coastal Louisiana, the state launched America’s WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana.
The research phase of campaign development, which included stakeholder interviews and focus groups in Louisiana and Pennsylvania, began in February 2002 and continued through May. It assessed the awareness of key audiences about the threats to Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and the development of compelling messages to reach those audiences.
Results indicated few people could describe the problem. However, research also revealed that coastal Louisiana is an area of world ecological and economic significance where preservation and productivity coexist.
Based on these results, the America’s WETLAND campaign was designed to raise awareness and gain support for coastal restoration by focusing on two primary themes — economic and energy security and world ecological significance. It was launched in August of 2002 by then-Governor M.J. “Mike” Foster at the annual meeting of the Southern Governors’ Association.
The campaign focused on five main objectives:
- Design a powerful, consistent and effective identity and brand, along with images and core messages to define the problem and the impact of the loss of Louisiana’s wetlands
- Create outreach opportunities and utilize comprehensive print and electronic media strategies to educate the public and engender campaign support
- Develop a strong and active “Cooperating Organizations” network to support message dissemination
- Build an educational infrastructure that engages both youth and adults
- Develop funding opportunities to support the campaign and long-term restoration activities
A statewide poll revealed that 84 percent of Louisiana residents are now aware of coastal land loss and 71 percent are aware of the America’s WETLAND campaign. The campaign and the issue were mentioned in 387 reported media hits with a total circulation of more than 27 million in 21 states. Coverage included outlets such as CNN Headline News, ABC News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times and helped the campaign reach a national audience. The AW website received more than 700,000 “hits” during 2003 and facilitated the creation of an electronic e-mail list with more than 1,000 contacts.