By Beth Quillian, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
It’s one of the most important questions fish and wildlife agencies continue to ask – how do we connect with broader communities in a world of changing values and significant environmental challenges? The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) asked this question in the Nevada Pathways to Relevancy Project, using the Fish and Wildlife Relevancy Roadmap as a guide. NDOW surveyed people in Nevada to learn about their opinions and values related to wildlife, nature, time outside, and personal health.
Bobby Jones, a social scientist with NDOW, brought attendees of the 2023 ACI Conference on a journey and shared how the agency implemented survey results into an effective campaign to get people outside. Attempting to answer that big question requires agencies to go with a “choose your own adventure guide.” Faced with unique sets of challenges, each agency looking to implement the Relevancy Roadmap will need to assess its own starting point, path and speed. And most of all, the recommendations, strategies and tactics of the Relevancy Roadmap must be applied in the real world. So how did NDOW’s adventure go?
The survey, which covered the state as a whole, focused on three specific groups of people: Hispanics and Latinos, young adults and outdoor recreators who were not primarily focused on hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing. The survey results showed that time is the most significant barrier to people getting outside, distance is an issue, and personal health is important (fresh air, mental and emotional health, stress relief, and relaxation).
NDOW created a campaign to encourage people to get outside while hitting on each of the key points found in the survey results. The 10,000 daily step goal has become a popular measure of personal health over the last several years, and NDOW harnessed the power of that to redirect people to calculate the value of time spent outside. According to an article published in Nature, spending at least 120 minutes outside per week in nature is associated with good health and well-being. Divide that by 7 days of the week and you’ve got approximately 17 minutes per day. Jones took that number and turned it into an attention-grabbing message – “Take 17. Nature is just what your body needs. 17 minutes outside is the new 10,000 steps.”
NDOW also offered free youth combination licenses (fishing/hunting) through the Nevada License Fund in addition to the “Take 17” message campaign, and it resulted in an approximately 15% gain in youth licenses. Over 70% of the participants had never had a license before.
By considering the specific needs of people in Nevada and adding in some creativity, NDOW succeeded in applying the Relevancy Roadmap to the real world with great outcomes. To learn more about the Nevada Pathways to Relevancy Project visit www.ndow.org/blog/pathways-to-relevancy-project/.