Awareness raising and information for local and foreign visitors

Published: 09 May 2018
Last edited: 01 April 2019

The project’s communication strategy was aimed at the local population through press and social media. It was important to produce press releases and invite journalists to report on the project, as was communication through the internet and social media.

A regular programme of activities aimed at the general public, including volunteering activities, was developed. These activities allowed locals (and sometimes visitors) to participate in and learn about conservation activities taking place in the protected area, as well as learning about Azorean biodiversity.

In the end of 2007 the Priolo's Interpretation Centre was opened. Its mission is to raise awareness for the “Priolo” and its habitat, the Laurel Forest. It contains an exhibition that tells the story of Azores bullfinch, explains the conservation actions developed on the ground and talks about the biodiversity of the protected area and of the Azores archipelago. The Priolo’s Interpretation Centre increased the communication capability of the project. This centre provides information for visitors to the protected area and promotes educational activities for schools and the local population. This centre also has a small souvenir shop and donation box, gathering some funding for the implementation of the project.

Classifications

Category
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Phase of solution
Entirety

Enabling factors

  • Available funding through European Union Rural Development Funds (LEADER);
  • European Commission funding through LIFE Programme;
  • Partnership between regional government and an NGO in order to build the centre.

 

Lessons learned

  • Creation of promotion materials and awareness campaigns are of great significance for the dissemination of the project and to increase the knowledge of the general population about biodiversity and its main threats, allowing the continued involvement of the population, which is crucial to ensure the preservation of natural resources in the long term;
  • Improving public opinion about the project has also proved useful in gathering volunteers and donations that are of great help to the project;
  • No matter how good media communication is, the best awareness raising and communication strategy is engaging the local population and word of mouth. The visitors' centre is of great help to achieve this engagement;
  • We don´t charge entry fees, but ask for donations from our visitors, this promotes the entry of local population that sometimes repeat visits, and we still get some funding from foreign visitors. However, economic sustainability of the visitors’ centre is still a matter we are struggling with.