Communicating Conservation to Citizens: Communications Course 2009

Archive of Course Documents

Last Updated: January 28, 2010

Conducted By: Eric Eckl, Water Words that Work
Sponsored Bay: Coastal Training Program, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve—Watershed Services Unit

This communications course was designed specifically for you, the employees of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to help you communicate more effectively with citizens and stakeholders. It was an online course offered to the Department in July and September of 2009. If you remember your log-in and password you still have access to the course at If you no longer have access, the resources from each of the lessons are posted below.  If you have any questions, please contact Sasha Land.

Course Overview

The purpose of the course was to: acquire skills to help you create and deliver clear, effective messages to the public; learn how to explain complex scientific information in laymen’s terms; become more familiar with departmental policy and communications resources available to you; and develop a greater understanding of the types of messaging that resonate with Maryland citizens.

Lesson 1 - The Key to Conservation Action

Maryland Residents Define Forest Stewardship (You-tube video)
Maryland Residents Define Sustainable Development (You-tube video)
Understanding Environmental Literacy and Making it a Reality (PDF document)
Survey on American Attitudes on the Environment (PDF document)
What Are Americans Thinking and Doing about Global Warming (PDF document)
Marylanders and the Environment (PDF document)

Lesson 2 - Vocabulary & Readability

How to Check Readability in Microsoft Word (PDF document)
Wikipedia entry on The Flesch–Kincaid Readability Tests (webpage)
Microsoft's web page on readability and Flesch-Kinkaid (webpage)

Lesson 3 - Reaching New Audiences

Maryland residents' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors: A collection (webpage)
Quick facts about Maryland residents from the U.S. Census file (webpage)
Americans' environmental knowledge, attitudes, behaviors (webpage)

Lesson 4 - Trust, Clarity & the Media

Public Opinion on Fish and Wildlife Management Issues and the Reputation and Credibility of Fish And Wildlife Agencies in The Northeast U.S. (Maryland), 2004 (PDF document)
Pew Trends Report -- Chronicles loss of trust in news media (PDF document)

Lesson 6 - Step One of the Four Steps

Quick facts about Maryland residents (by county) from the U.S. Census (webpage)
Market Research into Behaviors that Affect the Environment

Lesson 8 - Step Three of the Four Steps

Focus Group Report on Environmental Concerns of Voters ("Biodiversity") (PDF document)
Lessons Learned Regarding "The Language of Conservation" ("Easement") (PDF document)
Family Forest Owners: Insights into Land-Related Stewardship, Values, and Intentions ("Sustainable" and "Stewardship") (PDF document)
Lessons Learned Regarding Communicating About State Wildlife Action Plans ("Stewardship") (PDF document)

Lesson 9 - Step Four of the Four Steps

The Words That Work: 25 terms that will transform your communications (PDF document)
Lessons Learned Regarding "The Language of Conservation" (PDF document)
The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America (PDF document)
Anglers’ and Boaters’ Attitudes Toward Various Messages that Communicate the Benefits of Fishing and Boating: Results of a Series of Nationwide Focus Groups (PDF document)

Lesson 10 - Review of Next Steps

A Survey of Chesapeake Bay Watershed Residents, 2002 (PDF document)
Results of survey of Maryland residents conducted by GarinHartYang, 2000 (PDF document)



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