ZACC Workshop: Communications and Media Training - Blank Park Zoo

ZACC Workshop: Communications and Media Training


Communications and Media Training for field and zoo personnel: 
How to tell your conservation story!

Pre-conference workshop, Monday, July 8th 1-5 PM, Holiday Inn

Join us for a pre-conference workshop on Monday, July 8th for an afternoon of field and zoo communications training and discussion!  This unique workshop will bring together five experts from the fields of conservation, journalism and marketing. Learn to establish consistent conservation messaging, effectively communicate your program’s goals and successes, and become leaders in inspiring positive conservation action. 

This workshop is FREE to registered participants of the conference!  RSVP to

Workshop Schedule
1:00-1:20   Welcome by Dr. Rebecca Christoffel, Iowa State University
1:20-2:20 Discussion #1:  Telling your conservation story… utilizing the media and zoos resources.

  • 1:20-1:40   Stan Moberg, former CNN Journalist -   Effective Communication with the Media
  • 1:40-2:00   Catherine Barton, Assistant Conservation Officer, Chester Zoo -Communication partnerships between zoos and field projects: How zoos can help ‘tell your story’ 
  • 2:00-2:20   Discussion / activity

2:20- 3:20   Discussion #2:  Consistent Messaging and Creative Communication

  • 2:20-2:40   Pati Medici, Conservation Biologist, Brazil–The Tapir and the Jackass: What do they have in common?
  • 2:40- 3:00  Anne Warner, Conservation Strategies - Creating Conservation Messaging Campaigns: A Case study from the Pacific Northwest
  • 3:00-3:20 Discussion / activity

3:20-3:40 Break

3:40-4:20   Discussion #3:  Don’t forget about the underdog!

  • 3:40- 4:00   Jeremy Hance, senior staff writer, - Popularizing the unpopular: bringing media attention to the millions of forgotten species
  • 4:00-4:20 PM Discussion / activity

4:20-5:00   Group discussion and wrap up

Workshop Instructors

Moderator:  Dr. Rebecca Christoffel, Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Faculty, Iowa State University

Dr. Christoffel received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Ecology from University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University. Prior to coming to Iowa State University in 2009, she was a project manager and human dimensions specialist for D.J. Case & Associates in Mishawaka, Indiana. Her Extension program aims to build capacity in individuals and communities to conserve and co-exist with wildlife. Her research program aims to use interpretation and conservation psychology to manage human-wildlife interactions.

Stan Moberg, Former CNN Journalist/Producer

Stan currently produces "Great Day" for KCWI-23 here in Des Moines. "Great Day" is a daily, three hour morning show that features news, weather, pop culture, live interviews with actors, comedians, all sorts of celebrities and, of course all of the movers and shakers of Central Iowa.
Stan spent eleven years based in Atlanta, Georgia, working as a journalist for CNN. His adventures at CNN led him into hostile environs such as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornados and the American political arena. He has produced hundreds of stories that aired around the world on CNN's many news platforms and he has conducted interviews with politicians, rock stars, international dignitaries and many, many “average joes”.
Stan won an Emmy Award for the 23rd Annual News and Documentary Awards while at CNN for 9/11 coverage. He is also a recipient of multiple Peabody Awards for CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina (2005), Election Coverage (2008) and the Gulf Oil Disaster (2010), as well as a Dupont Award for CNN Tsunami coverage (2005). He has worked with some of the world's most respected journalists converting information and images into the news stories viewers see and read at home.

Title:  Effective Communication with the Media

My goal is to show you how to make it easy for a journalist to say: "There's my bite!" I'll share with you what journalists are looking for when gathering information and conducting interviews.
We’ll detail effective communication with the media.   Talk about connecting points of interest for the media and your message.  The art of the Soundbite.  Avoiding the cutting room floor.  Basic goals of a Journalist

Catherine Barton, Assistant Conservation Officer, Chester Zoo
A member of the Field Conservation and Research team at Chester Zoo, Cat works on Chester Zoo’s field conservation programmes, and her role varies from communication with overseas partners to evaluation of field projects and native species research. Cat is the main point of contact between the field conservation team and the media and marketing departments at Chester Zoo and has been heavily involved in their new online Act for Wildlife campaign which promotes the field conservation work

Title: Communication partnerships between zoos and field projects: How zoos can help ‘tell your story’  

Field conservation projects partnering with zoos have a resource to hand that can target millions of people around the world: 700 million visitors walk through the gates of WAZA zoos every year, and engaging the public with online activities such as campaign websites and social media channels is on the rise, significantly increasing the number of people zoos can reach with conservation messages.  As high profile tourist attractions, zoos have also commonly developed strong effective working relationships with national and international media channels which can be used to relay messages to a much wider audience.
Using examples from Chester Zoo field partners, this workshop will cover media and communication from the perspective of zoos as partners: How do we communicate field projects to our zoo visitors and online audience? What type of story can we use most effectively? How can we use these stories in order to raise funds for conservation projects and assist field projects in gaining national and international media exposure?

Anne Warner, Conservation Strategies
Before launching her consulting business, Anne served as Interim Executive Director for the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance and led conservation and education efforts for the Oregon and Oakland Zoos. Her experience is diverse and includes change management, leadership development, designing exhibits and writing interpretives, education program planning, project management, research, administering grant programs, creating collaborations to address conservation issues, implementing state conservation strategies and supporting primate sanctuaries throughout Africa. Anne’s passion stems from the conviction that Zoos and Aquariums are key partners for saving wildlife. Conservation Strategies, her consulting business, connects zoo and aquarium professionals with strategic planning, skills for building or expanding their conservation work and in situ conservation projects.

Title:  Creating Conservation Messaging Campaigns: A Case study from the Pacific Northwest

A collaboration of Zoos and Aquariums in the PNW wanted to create consistent messaging around the urgent issue of climate change with the goal of changing behaviors. To find out how best to connect with our audience we conducted visitor studies to determine what visitors already know about climate change impacts on wildlife, what the gaps in understanding were, how we can connect with visitor's core values and what perceived barriers exist to carbon reduction actions. We will discuss the process with particular emphasis on crafting messages the resonate with core values and have the workshop participants brainstorm how these techniques can be used to create a conservation messaging campaign in their own institution.

Patrícia Medici, Conservation Biologist, Brazil
Patrícia Medici is a Brazilian conservation biologist whose main professional interests are tapir conservation, metapopulation management, landscape ecology, community-based conservation, and communication tools for conservation. Patrícia has a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry Sciences from the São Paulo University (USP - Universidade de São Paulo), Master’s Degree in Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), Brazil, and Ph.D. Degree in Biodiversity Management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, United Kingdom. For the past 20 years, Patrícia has been working for a Brazilian non-governmental organization called IPÊ - Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute for Ecological Research) of which she was one of the founders. Since 1996, Patrícia coordinates the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative in Brazil and dedicates her life to tapir conservation in Brazil. Since 2000, Patrícia has been the Chairperson of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), a network of over 150 tapir conservationists from 27 different countries worldwide.  Patrícia has been honored with three very prestigious conservation awards: Harry Messel Conservation Leadership Award from the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2004, Golden Ark Award from the Golden Ark Foundation in the Netherlands in 2008, and Whitley Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom also in 2008.

Title:  The Tapir and the Jackass:  What do they have in common?

This presentation will include an overview of the different communication tools used by the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI) to disseminate the tapir conservation cause in Brazil.  The tapir deals with some very serious PR issues in Brazil. Not many Brazilians know what a tapir is, and most of those who do associate this animal with lack of intelligence. The tapir in Brazil is the equivalent of the jackass in the United States!  If you want to call someone stupid in Brazil you call that person a tapir.  Therefore, the use of effective communication tools to reach out to the general public in Brazil has been of critical importance.  Some of the communication tools the LTCI has been using include: e-mail digests with updates from the field, photos, and links to videos; contributions to zoo materials (tapir signage, newsletters, websites, blogs, brochures, etc., in this case national and international); web presence (website, blog, social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter and Facebook); art (designs for merchandize (t-shirts, stickers etc.), Tapirs Helping Tapirs Events, Tapir Parade 2014); media (national, international, online, printed, TV etc.); photography; books and much more.

Jeremy Hance, senior staff writer,
Jeremy Hance is a senior staff writer with, a popular environmental website. Working as a journalist for 5 years Hance has written over 2,000 articles on environmental and conservation issues. His reporting has taken him to the Amazon rainforest, the African savannah, and the jungles of Borneo. Most recently he chased down the incredibly bizarre solenodon in the Dominican Republic. He is also the author of a book of essays called: Life is Good: Conservation in the Age of Mass Extinction.

Title:  Popularizing the unpopular: bringing media attention to the millions of forgotten species

It's relatively easy to get people interested in conservation issues surrounding tigers, elephants, pandas, and other hugely popular species. But what about the other 20,000 species categorized by the IUCN Red List as threatened with extinction? Or what about the nearly two million species that haven't even been evaluated by the Red List? As an environmental journalist, I see one of my primary tasks as communicating with readers about species they have never heard of or ones they find frightening, ugly, pesky or, worst of all, unimportant. My talk will focus on various strategies to get people interested in the millions of species that don't have the support of mega-donors or targeted conservation efforts. Introducing the public to little-known species, not only helps these species, but also creates greater awareness of the value of biodiversity and the rising threat of global mass extinction. Not just losing big, popular species, but living communities made up of thousands of recognized and unrecognized wild heroes.


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