The virtual social media workshop delivered by Evita Sanches of MPOWR was coordinated through the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) in order to support the communication strategies of the protected area management organizations of the six Dutch Caribbean islands, started on Friday, October 23rd.
Communication of nature conservation can be a daunting task due to the fact that issues are often associated with the status and trends of ecosystems within protected areas and rules and regulations. This may not always be the most appealing to a larger audience. To communicate effectively, one must consider its audience and, naturally, the relevance of the topic. However, the question remains: how do we communicate effectively to others that nature and our dependence on it are extremely intertwined?
Social media is an effective communication tool used by the parks to display daily activities to the community and engage with followers. Besides it inspires a sense of community ownership and responsibility which fosters the spirit of conservation getting more and more persons involved. Due to COVID-19, restrictions have taken their toll on the Dutch Caribbean National Parks. Challenges include on how to communicate appropriate park rules to the public (e.g. social distancing on hiking trails or even in the parks’ offices). The effects include more online presence especially with social media to ensure the public is aware that the park activities have not ceased despite the harsh results of the pandemic.
“Effective online communication, especially on social media, is nowadays extremely important for the protected area management organizations to make sure the island residents and visitors are not only informed but also inspired and understand conservation activities, rules and regulations. Besides, social media is a valuable educational tool to increase awareness about the importance of our unique and fragile nature to the future social and economic well-being of our islands and fighting off issues that affect them.”- Tineke van Bussel- Research Communication Liaison, DCNA.
One of the core tasks of DCNA is to promote and facilitate capacity building, knowledge exchange, training and cooperation. Through this project, the communication officers have received training about Facebook & Instagram Marketing. After the training, the participants have the knowledge and tools to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.
“Education through communication about maintaining the quality of the environment play an extremely important role in conservation in 2020. The social media communication workshop was helpful to me since I learnt new tools which can increase social media engagement in a more efficient manner.” Rissa Rampersad, Education & Communications Officer, Saba Conservation Foundation.