By Patrick Ma, Seewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative Coordinator

In July, natural resource professionals from many states and backgrounds met together at Little Ocmulgee State Park in McCrae, GA for a Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively (TELE) workshop. TELE workshops focus on how to understand and reach the target audience for natural resource efforts and programs. The July workshop focused on issues related to prescribed fire and Sentinel Landscapes. Patrick Ma was one attendee of the workshop.

For the past two years, the Sewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative (SLCC)-a regional partnership dedicated to the establishment and enhancement of high quality longleaf pine forest through planting and prescribed fire anchored around the Francis Marion National Forest in the low country of South Carolina-has been expanding its operating territory further north into Williamsburg County. As part of that success, the SLCC is planning to host its own workshop for landowners in Williamsburg County in Spring 2019. This “learn and burn” will give landowners an opportunity to better understand prescribed fire through hands-on experience.

Group Photo: July TELE Workshop Facilitators and Attendees

July TELE Workshop Facilitators and Participants

While it is not a completely unfamiliar landscape, the demographics in Williamsburg County are comparatively different from the burgeoning Charleston metropolis in the two neighboring counties to the south. Thus, if the SLCC were to host a successful workshop in for Williamsburg County landowners, it would need to be successful in advertising the event to the target audience.

As the SLCC coordinator, I learned to do just that by attending the “Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively” workshop. Through identifying the needs of the average landowner in Williamsburg County, I and fellow workshop attendees formed a focus group that was able to brainstorm the hopes and desires of landowners, the desired outcomes of the workshop, the channels available for advertising in order to develop a targeted message to attend a Learn and Burn.

If you are interested in the TELE method and associated resources, you can learn more on their website, engaginglandowners.org. To learn more or contact the Seewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative, visit their website, seweelongleafcoop.org.