Here are some ideas on how to encourage the participation of people from outside your classroom:
How to Publicize Your Project
Here are some tips to get you started.
- Write a Media Release: Write a one-page, double-spaced media release stating the name of your school, the grade level of your students, and the number of people involved in your project. Include a brief explanation of the project. Put the most important information in the first paragraph. Add a quote from the group supervisor. At the bottom of the page, provide a contact name and phone number. Next, deliver the release to the editor of the newspaper and the program directors at the radio and TV stations. Follow up by calling the media a week later.
- Organize a Publicity Event: Another way to publicize your project is to hold a kickoff celebration. Invite the media and other members of your community and ask a local celebrity — such as the mayor — to plant a tree for wildlife on your school grounds as part of the festivities.
- Issue a Public Service Announcement (PSA): If you are planning festivities to publicize your project, prepare a PSA to inform the media and the general public. Type it on a regular sheet of typing paper. In the top left corner, include a contact name and phone number. In the top right corner, write the date when you'd like the media to make the announcement. If you want them to run it for a few days, specify how long — for example, "Run: April 5-11, 2020." Your PSA, which should take 15 or 30 seconds to read aloud, should include the date, time, location, and a brief description of your event. Send it to the editor of the newspaper and the PSA directors at the radio and TV stations about two weeks ahead of time.
- Write Your Own Story: Provided that you've alerted the media well in advance and that a big news story doesn't happen at the same time as your event, some reporters will probably attend. But just in case they can't, take photos of your event with black and white slide film. This way, you can submit a photo and story to the newspaper afterwards. For more information on how to get publicity for your project, see "Make Your Project a Media Event" in the enclosed Habitat 2000 Update.
Join the Club
Why not start your own Keep Canada Ever Green for Wildlife club? At each meeting you could learn about different types of trees, shrubs, legumes, grasses, and flowers and how each one benefits wildlife. Maybe there's a local expert who could give your club a lecture. The possibilities are endless!
Save Urban Forests
Knowledge is power. The more that people are aware of problems facing our wildlife, the more likely that they'll take action. Why not encourage your community to develop an urban forest policy? Some cities have already implemented such policies because of concerns raised by the public.
Draw up a proposed policy for your community and get permission to present it to city council. The following are some suggestions that you might want to include:
- The establishment and maintenance of a master plant list of hardy urban species suited to your climatic zone.
- The creation of a computerized tree inventory for your area.
- The development of a mechanism for public input into discussions about urban forest concerns.
- The establishment of policy aimed at replacing every tree that is removed.
- The creation of a public relations strategy to educate people about the value of urban forests.
Use a Tree, Plant a Tree
Did you know that it takes an average of 17 trees to make a tonne of newsprint? It sounds like a lot, but it's only a tiny portion of the paper that Canadians use each day! Determine how much paper your school consumes and then suggest that a tree be planted to replace each one your school uses in the form of paper. Consider involving the entire school board in your replanting plan.
Leave a Trail of Green
Contact your local planning department to see if it has rules prohibiting developers from levelling forests, woodlands, and fields. During construction, existing vegetation is usually removed. But with a bit of care, trees near construction sites could be saved — or replanted — for the benefit of wildlife and people. If your community doesn't have rules to protect existing vegetation, develop some of your own and present them at the next city council meeting.
If a new development has been approved, you might even want to contact the developer yourself and ask what kind of landscaping is planned. Ask the developer the following:
- Is wildlife being taken into consideration?
- Are patches of vegetation for wildlife being left, or are more being planted? If not, why not?
- Is there something you could do to help?
Throw a Tree-Planting Party
Celebrations bring people together. Is there one — such as a town or company anniversary — coming up in your community? If so, suggest planting arrangements of trees for wildlife as part of the festivities. Make factsheets on trees and wildlife and circulate them at the celebration. It's an ideal way to show the public how important our trees are to wildlife — and to us!
On Your Mark, Get Set, Plant!
Find out if there are other planting projects in your area that you could join. If not, start one! Ask your municipal government and local forestry officials if there are any parks or other areas where plantings are planned. Can they suggest how you could help out? Think about how you could get the community involved. Look in the phone book for service organizations, such as the chamber of commerce or wildlife, nature, or environmental clubs. Don't forget senior citizens' groups. Seniors often have spare time for activities, and you might be able to recruit them for your planting project.
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