Bridging the Divide


Roadmap to Strategic Conservation


³What we have in the West is truly unique on a global scale.´
Ray Rasker, Headwaters Economics

The West is critical to conservation nationwide Advocates too often clash with local sensibilities Enormous conservation potential goes unrealized

7 Principles of Strategic Conservation

1. Be pragmatic 2. Listen First 3. Build Local Alliances 4. Speak ³Local´ 5. Raise Authentic Voices 6. Apply Appropriate Technology and Tactics 7. See the Big Picture

The West: Center Stage

Why the Rural West Matters High Ecologic Value Disproportionate Political Influence Shifting Political Opportunity

The West: Center Stage of American Conservation

Vast Public Land Active public debate Old feuds over land, water and wildlife
Federal Lands and Indian Reservations
Source: Dept of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

The West is «
Graying Urbanizing Torn Between Demographic Extremes Changing economically Ethnically and culturally diverse

Strategic Conservation

³Social movements rise and fall on how well they reflect the public¶s values and appetite for change.´
-- John Russonello, Beldon, Russonello and Stewart

What is Strategic Conservation?

Organizational culture Knowing success built on public support Seeking solutions

Strategic Conservation

Reflects a mainstream conservation ethic Mobilizes hearts and minds Understands values and core concerns

Americans Support Protecting the Environment

The poll asked adults nationwide, ³Please tell me if you completely agree with it, mostly agree with it, mostly disagree with it or completely disagree with it.... There needs to be stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment.´ Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

mericans Distance Themselves from ³Environmentalists´

The poll asked adults nationwide, ³Do you consider yourself an environmentalist or not?´ Source: Gallup Poll, 1989 and 1999; ABC News Poll, 2008

Communication Challenges

Increasing skepticism ³Outsiders´ often unwelcome Confrontational tactics reinforce negative perception

Credibility and Relevance
The key that opens hearts and minds
Primary values ‡ Family/personal security ‡ Personal Responsibility ‡ Personal liberty ‡ Honesty/Integrity ‡ Fairness/equality Secondary values ‡ Care for others ‡ Stewardship ‡ Personal fulfillment ‡ Respect for authority ‡ Love of country or culture

Answer: So what? Relevance is Oxygen Speak to values

Value-Based Messaging

Your values

Shared values

Audience values

Primary Core Values: Security, Prosperity, Responsibility, Freedom, Integrity, Fairness

Messenger Trumps Message

Answer: Who says? Message alone not enough Messenger must complement Audience

Why Local? Real power ³Trusted´ often equals ³local´ Local strength -foundation for state and national strength

The Seven Principles of Strategic Conservation

Principle 1: Be Pragmatic

Case Study: Washington Wild Sky Wilderness Goal: Protect lowland Cascades
Strategy: ‡Broad local outreach ‡Compromise and collaboration ‡Built support in rural places and small towns

What Went Right?
Scientifically driven goal Pragmatic path to success Community concerns addressed Conservationists built broad coalition No ³rolling the locals´

Principle 2: Listen First

Principle 2: Listen First Goal: Protect Rosebud County
Strategy: ‡ Conservation District ‡ Focus community prosperity ‡ Reach out to broad constituencies

What Went Right?
Drumbeat around community values Pursued a balance not a ban Local problem solvers, not ³outsiders´

Principle 3: Build Local Alliances

Case Study: Idaho¶s Proposition 2 Goal: Defeat Prop 2, anti-planning measure
Strategy: ‡ Head-to-head combat ‡ Build broad coalition of Idahoans ‡ Undermine compelling argument

What Went Right?

Public opinion research revealed local values Campaign built a broad coalition They told an effective story about a ³black hat´ outsider

Principle 4: Speak ³Local´

Case Study: Milltown Dam Removal Goal: Restore Blackfoot River
Strategy: ‡ Demand cleanup ‡ Highlight clean water, safety ‡ And good paying jobs

What Went Right?

Bold vision and clear goal Support built locally and statewide over years Story frame focused on community values

Principle 5: Raise Authentic Voices

Case Study: Sportsmen & Ranchers Take on Bush Energy

Goal: Deflect Bush Energy Policy
Strategy: ‡ Recruit ³Gun Rack Pack´ ‡ Engage conservative sportsmen as lead spokespeople ‡ Speak locally and in DC

What Went Right?

Conservationists: ‡ Put a human face on the bad policy ‡ Worked with important constituents to challenge Administration

Principle 6: Apply Appropriate Technology and Tactics

Case Study: Oregon BLM Logging Plan Goal: Curb BLM logging in Oregon
Strategy: ‡ What spotted owls? ‡ Highlight threat to rivers ‡ Target rural outlets

What Went Right?

New voices deployed Rural media outlets targeted Outdoor page 1st ± hard news 2nd

Principle 7: See the Big Picture

Case Study: Protecting the Sierra Goal: Protect Sierra Forests
Strategy: ‡ Work with businesses, agency and small mills ‡ Embrace forest thinning projects ‡ Strategic litigation choices

What Went Right?

Responded to the community as times change Promoted solutions Adapted to new knowledge



Shared values Bridge the Divide Credibility and relevance come from local relationships Dedication and hard work key

About Resource Media
Resource Media is a communications shop dedicated to making the environment matter. We provide media strategy and services to non-profits, foundations and others who are working to protect communities and the environment. We work behind the scenes to foster effective collaboration, develop messages rooted in common public values and promote sound environmental policies and practices. For more information, go to