Expanding lionfish outreach and interpretation in Miami - Dade and Monroe counties: Informing key stakeholders on the significance of the invasion and importance of their removal using various outreach methods
Background: A variety of outreach approaches were utilized in order to spread awareness to both visitors to and residents of Miami-Dade counties about the problematic invasion of the Indo-Pacific lionfish to the Tropical Western Atlantic Ocean, more specifically in Biscayne National Park. This project was created due to the fact that this invasive species is growing into one of the world’s top conservation issues, and one, which needs to be shared to those who could help in the management of them. Biscayne National Park is unique in that it can utilize both its resource management division, which conducts research and management of wildlife, and its interpretation division, which shares information with park visitors and members of the local public. Methods: Three activities were organized in order to spread more awareness about the local lionfish invasion. A personal comparison was made following the termination of each of these activities in order to determine outreach success. Activity 1 focused on face-to-face interactions with groups of local stakeholders within the diving community in Miami-Dade, in addition to family groups. By leveraging an existing organization’s missions, tourists to Monroe county were heavily targeted to spread lionfish awareness. Activity 2 focused on the media portion of outreach using film, for purposes of creating a video for the park’s Visitor Center as well as an episode for broadcast television. Additionally, activity 3 focused on the benefits associated social media as a conservation news outlet. Results: While social media reached the largest amount of people, reaching over 1,000 people depending on the post, the most engaging of the three activities was face-to-face interactions using presentations and booth setups at various events throughout South Florida. This project saw that 598 were spoken to in an engaging way, which allowed for questions and interactive learning. Media outreach, while harder to determine the quantifiable reach to stakeholders, inspired more action and conversation through the impactful films and footage. Conclusion: Results from this project should help to inspire others to focus on all forms of outreach to convey the importance of conservation issues and how the public can help with them. Further research should be done to discover the far-reaching implications with each of these outreach forms in greater detail.
Tricarico, Dana, "Expanding lionfish outreach and interpretation in Miami - Dade and Monroe counties: Informing key stakeholders on the significance of the invasion and importance of their removal using various outreach methods" (2015). Internship Reports (Restricted). 44.
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