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Sustaining Bird Habitats & Rural Communities
Big Snowy Wma

Using Communications to Move the Conservation Needle

The growth of NGPJV communications efforts continues to evolve in response to the ever-shifting dynamics across the partnership and the landscape we serve. With dedicated capacity for communications still being a relatively new addition to the NGPJV team, outreach efforts over the last several years had primarily focused on building our “common core” of communication channels. Things like the website, Facebook page, and quarterly e-news took time to build and bring in line with the JV’s new branding. A reinvigorated NGPJV Communications Committee consisting of Board members and partner communications staff provided invaluable guidance in developing and delivering these core activities. With this baseline complete, the JV has had the opportunity to expand its vision this past year, thinking more about what communications are most needed and how the JV can be value added in communications.

In partnership with the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, JV communications staff completed an assessment of the “storytelling landscape” over the summer to develop an understanding of the communications that are already happening, where the gaps are, and how the JVs can offer support to our partners. This assessment consisted of direct interviews with partner communications staff, which was an ideal opportunity to continue building relationships and expanding collaboration at different professional levels within the NGPJV partnership. Findings from the assessment indicated that while conservation organizations are partnering more than ever, this effort isn’t necessarily translating to the communications level and communications staff are missing opportunities to collaborate.

With this finding, the JV will play an active role in facilitating or supporting communications networks across our geography. Given that partnerships are the entire modus operandi of the JV model, this approach is a good fit and would help both JVs fill a communications niche in the landscape. JV communications staff are already engaging with the Meadowlark Initiative’s Conservation Marketing Group in North Dakota as well as the South Dakota Grassland Initiative and will continue to provide input as requested in support of these broad, partner-based efforts. The connections that were established during the communications assessment will additionally help the JV maintain closer contact with our partners and elevate stories that highlight the exciting work happening across the region.

This work is ongoing and additive to the other communication goals identified in the Strategic Communication Plan, which was updated and approved by the Management Board earlier this year. Continuing to share messaging on the economic and ecological value of intact grasslands remains a priority for the JV, and providing support for Hill Visits, partner outreach efforts, the N-GRIP program, and other such activities will always be a place for the communications program to engage. As we look to 2024, we hope to expand our capacity for communications to continue taking our efforts further and building a coalition of conservation communicators to move the needle on grasslands conservation.

The NGPJV is always looking for ways to support and elevate our partner’s communications efforts. If you have a collaboration opportunity or story you’d like to share, please feel free to get in touch!