NatureScape effort pushes eco-friendly landscaping

With the environment top of mind, Broward County, FL, retained The Environmental Communications Group (ECG) to come up with environmental education for the community, namely around its NatureScape program, a landscaping initiative aiming to focus public attention and engage homeowners to protect water resources.

With the environment top of mind, Broward County, FL, retained The Environmental Communications Group (ECG) to come up with environmental education for the community, namely around its NatureScape program, a landscaping initiative aiming to focus public attention and engage homeowners to protect water resources.

"This program is an example of the county's demonstrated ability to move beyond the usual constraints of government," says Honey Rand, ECG president. To familiarize the community with the program, the team launched the NatureScape Makeover Challenge.

Strategy

ECG wanted to secure environmental improvement by educating and engaging various publics, including homeowners, businesses, and local governments. "Our main goal was to draw attention and to use this as a jumpstart for the NatureScape program," Rand says. The contest asked people to explain why their water-sucking, pesticide- and fertilizer-dripping, treeless, sad yard needed a makeover, with the winner receiving a NatureScape-certified makeover.

Tactics

Because of a limited budget, ECG sought to convince local businesses that contributing to the program would generate publicity and benefit business. "The process for working for the private sector and for the government are different, and trying to reconcile those so everybody got what they needed... was extremely challenging," Rand notes. ECG also held news conferences at the program's kickoff and at the unveiling of the winner's made-over yard.

Results

More than 550 entries were received, and the effort engaged the public and businesses. "We got $50,000 in goods and services donated from small businesses," Rand says. All 30 Starbucks stores in the county made space for the entry drop-off display and posters. Also, 400 additional sites were placed into the NatureScape certification process.

Future

ECG continues to work with Broward County on the NatureScape program.

PR team: Broward County (FL) and The Environmental Communications Group (Tampa, FL)

Campaign: NatureScape Makeover

Duration: August 2005-ongoing

Budget: $35,000

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