From Grassroots to Mainstream: How Informed Advocacy and Social Branding Can Drive Conservation of Fish and Wildlife


8:00AM From Grassroots to Mainstream: How Informed Advocacy and Social Branding Can Drive Conservation of Fish and Wildlife
  Steven Cooke
As environmental awareness in society increases, grassroots activism and initiatives become more prominent and important. Grassroots environmental movements can be powerful in that they catalyze stakeholders, and advocate for change in human use of natural resources related to unified conservation goals. In some cases, the effectiveness of such movements can be bolstered by the integration of evidence, leading to ‘informed advocacy’ rather than solely relying on emotion and anecdotes to foster change. Further, because such movements can spread quickly through social networks (digital and otherwise), understanding the intricacies of social branding can allow for the effective integration of grassroots conservation movements with traditional management efforts focused on fish, wildlife, and the habitats they rely on. Here we introduce the basis of grassroots conservation efforts focused on fish and wildlife, the benefits and hurdles that can be faced, and reveal how grassroots conservation efforts can increase their effectiveness through partnerships with scientists, management agencies, and even celebrities. This introductory presentation will set the stage for the various “case studies” that will be shared.
8:20AM Keepemwet Fishing – an Emerging Social Brand for Disseminating Best Practices for Catch-and-Release in Recreational Fisheries
  Andy J. Danylchuk, PhD
There is a growing body of catch-and-release (C&R) science showing that adjusting the way fish are caught, handled, and released can reduce impacts on individuals and populations. However, a major caveat is that C&R will be a more effective conservation tool if best practice guidelines stemming from the science are understood, embraced, and adopted by recreational anglers. In recognition of this, Keepemwet Fishing (KWF) has emerged as a nonpartisan movement to provide simple, clear, and accurate C&R guidelines that transcend species and subcultures within the recreational angling community. The foundations of the KWF movement are science-based best practices, clear translations of the science, and a diverse and growing set of stakeholder groups that are sharing the Keepemwet sentiment via social media and other communication channels. We highlight the power of this grassroots movement, as well as potential hurdles that KWF and other social brands will need to overcome to broaden their effectiveness. Given the apparent increase in bottom-up attempts to disseminate best practices to anglers, the lessons learned from the KWF movement have the potential to be of great benefit to other groups engaged in angler outreach related to best practices and even broader natural resources conservation.
8:40AM Utilizing Social Branding to Activate Public Land Users
  Russell Kuhlman
Ever since Theodore Roosevelt set aside the millions of acres that now comprise our American system of public lands, these places have faced opposition from special interests seeking to privatize, divest or otherwise develop the 640 million acres to which we currently have virtually unfettered access. In 2011, public land divestiture bills were introduced in state legislatures throughout the West and well-funded pro-privatization groups formed to help advance this agenda. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers responded by uniting American public land owners to urge decision makers to “keep public lands in public hands.” BHA is utilizing a multi-faceted approach to organize young and energetic hunters and anglers, launching online petitions, promoting pro-conservation YouTube videos, and organizing public land rallies and pint nights throughout North America. Sportsmen celebrities joined the movement, and a community of conservation-minded hunters and anglers was born. Today this community includes 36,000 dues paying BHA members and 39 chapters – a community that shares our belief our public lands and waters must remain public, healthy and available if our unparalleled hunting and angling traditions are to endure. Join us to discuss BHA’s approach to building the voice for sportsmen and women in a community threatened by decline.
9:00AM When a Scientist Needs to Advocate: Lessons from Alaska’s “Stand for Salmon” Ballot Measure
  Stephanie Quinn-Davidson
In the spring of 2018, I was approached by a grassroots voter initiative effort working to update Alaska’s salmon habitat laws. I signed on to the effort formally known as “Stand for Salmon” and became one of the three citizen ballot measure sponsors. While most scientists working for the federal or state government were prohibited to speak out about the voter initiative or take a public position on it, polls indicated the general public wanted to hear from scientists. My science background and career in Alaska as a salmon scientist – formerly with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game – quickly elevated me to one of the main spokespeople for the campaign. I had leaped over the advocacy line my graduate school professor told me never to cross. Advocacy is often considered a four letter word among scientists. However, given today’s political climate, more and more scientists are wading in to the realm of advocacy. This talk will offer a reflection on my decision to join and experience with the Stand for Salmon campaign, review the current debate on advocacy and science, and make a case for why we all, as scientists, need to consider crossing that line.
9:20AM Headwaters Matter: Building Partnerships That Will Mitigate for a Changing Climate
  Gabriel Temple
Everything flows downstream: Headwaters Matter. The vision for the Yakima Headwaters chapter of Trout Unlimited is to engage in grassroots conservation activities that will lead to cleaner, colder, flowing head water streams. Our headwaters are threatened by a changing climate and there is no denying that we are already witness to warming stream temperatures, lowering stream flows, and changing hydrographs that have the potential to severely alter stream fish communities and impact urban demand. We have partnered with local government, tribal, and private entities to monitor population trends in cold water fish populations, monitor environmental conditions, and participate in habitat restoration activities to inform and preserve the persistence of cold headwaters in the Yakima Basin in central Washington State. The Yakima is, and has been, a hot bed of contentious water issues for decades because there is often more demand than water available, particularly in drought years. However, this contention eventually led to motivation and now has united conservation entities in developing achievable solutions that accommodate everyone’s needs. We describe our grassroots monitoring project that has developed unique collaborative working relationships that inform management and buffer our headwaters under the threat of climate change because after all, Headwaters Matter.
09:40AM Break
10:10AM Tuna Champions – an Education and Communications Program to Improve Responsible Fishing Practices on Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia
  Sean R. Tracey
The Tuna Champions project is a national education program aimed at recreational fishers targeting the globally iconic Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT). It is the first project of this magnitude in Australia, with the ambitious objective of influencing significant behavioural change in a national fishery. The Tuna Champions project is an exemplar of a scientific organisation working with a national peak body to engage a grassroots community, to convey fact-based information that will improve the utilisation of Australia and the world’s natural resources. The project communicates the best methods for catching and handling SBT whether the intention is to retain or release the fish. The focus is on encouraging stewardship and respect for the species within the sector. The project compiles educational information based on the results of research on best recreational fishing practices for SBT. It communicates the science behind those practices using a range of strategies to ensure a deep reach into the target audience. Since the project began, the team has engaged with recreational fishers across Australia and the world. The success of the project is evident with members of the recreational fishing community becoming Tuna Champions and advocating for best practice among their peers.
10:30AM Riparia: Connecting Youth and Science on the Water
  Andrea Reid
Riparia is a new female-led non-profit that brings underserved youth on free, freshwater science expeditions in Canada. This organization’s inaugural youth expedition will take place in the Poisson Blanc Regional Park of Quebec in August 2019 and is supported principally through an education grant from the National Geographic Society. As an organization-in-development, Riparia is currently developing its brand image and honing its messaging around how it will inspire and train the next generation of freshwater scientists and advocates.
10:50AM Local Advocacy to Hemispheric Outreach through the International Year of the Salmon
  Dennis Zimmermann
How does one facilitate a hemispheric initiative around salmon collaboration and have it resonate at the grassroots level? This presentation will focus on the successes and lessons learned around the outreach approach for the International Year of the Salmon initiative (IYS). There are challenges in bringing such an ambitious research driven initiative to the grassroots level in a way that galvanizes support and mobilizes local interest towards positive change. Countries across the Northern Hemisphere are banding together in a new five-year partnership to drive an intense burst of outreach and research to establish the conditions necessary for the resilience of salmon and people in a rapidly changing world. The IYS operates across scales and within multiple international salmon networks. The broad reaching outcomes for the IYS span the highly technical to the community-driven. The IYS is actively developing capacity around international research, however, outreach is still finding its’ way. Current tactics involve leveraging the IYS brand through social media, website, signature events and projects, presentations, celebrities, stewardship activities, and global strategic partnerships. The goal is to align these tactics across every scale and throughout various networks in order to #signupforsalmon and realize benefits at the local level.
11:10AM Recovery By a Thousand Voices; Combining Outreach Efforts to Support Atlantic Salmon Recovery
  Sarah Bailey
With multiple threats that impact population numbers, the plight of the Atlantic salmon has become widely known as “death by a thousand cuts.” Recovery efforts of Atlantic salmon are complex and require wide-spread responses to big problems, such as reconnecting natal rivers and improving marine survival. With the many battles ahead, outreach has become a critical tool in aiding conservation efforts for the species. Over the years many groups, including federal, state, and non-government organizations have been working hard to recognize the needs of this species through various outreach efforts. The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) was established in recognition of this need for global awareness and response and is meant to bring together countries to share knowledge and raise awareness. The IYS initiative attempts to weave together these many voices of Atlantic salmon conservation together to tell the intricate tale of how people can take action to support these important fish.
11:30AM World Fish Migration Day. Creating a Movement on Migratory Fish from Local to Global
  Herman Wanningen
Migratory fish species are severely threatened. The main causes are man-made obstacles like dams and weirs, which disrupt the natural flow of rivers and prevent fish migration. These fish species need to migrate to reproduce, feed and complete their life cycles. They make up a crucial link in the food chain and play an important ecological role in productive river systems. Furthermore, they provide an important food supply and livelihood for millions of people around the world. In order to bring global attention to these facts the World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) was initiated by a partnership of 6 organizations.WFMD is a one day global celebration and held every second year. It starts in New Zealand and follows the sun around the world, ending in Hawaii. The central message “Connecting fish, rivers and people” is used to connect sites around the world. The last edition in April 2018 hosted 570 local events organised by over 3000 organizations. WFMD help to reach students, teachers, resource managers, commercial and recreational anglers, as well as those who influence public policies. After 3 editions the global reach is 50-70 million people through (social) media. The fourth edition is planned for May 16, 2020.

Organizers: Andy J. Danylchuk, Steven Cooke

Location: Reno-Sparks CC Date: October 2, 2019 Time: 8:00 am - 11:50 am