How to communicate conservation?

A colleague forwarded me an interesting study about how to communicate conservation to the public.  It was not news to hear that messaging is important. However, it was interesting to read which messages worked and which did not as well as reflect on which ones I am using or have seen used in work related to promoting conservation in Canada and abroad.

Bad Words to Avoid



Biodiversity / endangered species





Environmental groups

Agricultural land

Urban sprawl

Green jobs

Ecosystem services

Landscape scale conservation

Good Words to Use

Land, air and water

Natural areas

Fish and wildlife


Land along lakes, rivers and streams


Land around rivers, lakes and streams

Conservation groups / organizations protecting land, air, and water

Working farms and ranches

Poorly planned growth/ development

Clean energy jobs/jobs protecting water quality/etc.

Nature’s benefits

Large, connected natural areas

Despite some jargon entering mainstream dialogue, the idea that most people don’t get the jargon has been reinforced. The charts above provide a summary of the key take-home messages that I will use when thinking of engaging people on this topic in the future.

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