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PLA 2021 Member Spotlights

By Janine Doyle posted 07-08-2022 01:14 PM


As part of PLA 2021, our virtual convention and trade show, we featured some of the ways our members virtually adapted their education, fundraising and conservation initiatives to continue reaching their communities and supporting public lands during the pandemic. 

Black Hills Parks & Forests Association

Black Hills Parks & Forests Association partnered with author and illustrator Pat Schultz to record a video of her reading her new children's book "Baxter Saves the Day" about a very special bat that used to live at Jewel Cave National Monument. The Association then was able to share out this video through their social media channels.

Friends of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

The Friends group turned their annual hummingbird banding day event into a virtual event. This is one of the videos they created for that day that explains the hummingbird banding process.

California State Railroad Museum Foundation

California State Railroad Museum Foundation created a branded video to use in conjunction with their upcoming conference.

Glacier Conservancy

The Glacier Conservancy launched a virtual coloring series for kids and adults alike - Glacier Color Club - spurred from an idea by designer Becca Snyder. Glacier Color Club was a way to offer a free mini version of the coloring book - allowing people to download it from their website, print it at home, or load it onto a tablet - and follow along with Becca as she colors the pages in the mini book.

Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This compilation shows the ways in which the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park adjusted their usual fundraising efforts, educational content and other communications to stay in touch with each of their overlapping audiences during the pandemic.

Grand Canyon Conservancy

Grand Canyon Conservancy launched a 20-week series of short, 2-3 minute videos to bring Grand Canyon National Park to viewers at home. These inspiring videos covered a range of topics related to Grand Canyon National Park, including dark skies, trails, geology, ecology, history, wildlife, the Colorado River, American Indian connections, and much more.

Great Smoky Mountains Association

Great Smoky Mountains Association was challenged during 2020 to connect Smokies lovers to the park and GSMA during the pandemic-related closures of both the park and our physical and online stores. They not only met that challenge, but learned to do many things they had never even imagined, including launching an online magazine, creating a podcast series, and increasing their website traffic, social media interactions, and online sales. This video from GSMA's Creative Team gives you an overview of their year.

Discover Your Forest

Discover Your Forest decided to do their annual fund drive online only this year. They created a video explaining the challenges and impacts for their organization during 2020 and share their hopes and goals for 2021. The campaign cost next to nothing to create and resulted in new donors and contributions in excess of their fundraising goal.

Mount Rushmore Society

The annual Mount Rushmore Society's Presidential Dinner was moved to a Virtual 90th Anniversary Celebration on October 3. This video was featured first to those who donated $90 for 90 years before the deadline and then made public. This successful adaptation resulted in donations/views from donors all across the nation, instead of just those who live in the Black Hills. Plus, the donations received were in keeping with what they would normally net on an in-person event.

Discover Your Northwest

Discover Your Northwest produced the film "Creative Hearts and Minds of the Nez Perce," which will show in the Lolo Pass Visitors Center, high schools and local media. The film was also separated into four individual segments so that DYNW and our partners could share them online during the pandemic. This segment shows Mikailah Thompson, a young bead artist skillfully sharing her contemporary and traditional vision of this art.

Point Reyes National Seashore Association

This video provides a taste of Point Reyes National Seashore Association's Park In Place educational webinar series. Park In Place is a collection of webinars, newsletters, and podcasts curated to keep the public connected to nature and Point Reyes National Seashore while sheltering in place because of COVID-19 and wildfire in the park. Visit the PRNSA website to explore the growing cache of programs and communications exploring nature, equity in parks, health, and cultural treasures.

FIND Outdoors

FIND Outdoors adapted their education outreach programs by developing short videos like this one about how to make fire.

Redwood Parks Conservancy

Redwood Parks Conservancy presented their 31st Candlelight Walk virtually this year enabling them to share this experience with lovers of the redwood parks from all over the US.

Friends of Acadia

Friends of Acadia Summit Stewards demonstrate the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace in Acadia National Park.

Washington's National Park Fund

In response to COVID-19 lockdowns and park closures, Washington’s National Parks Fund (WNPF) worked quickly to identify alternate ways to take the parks to the people using virtual fieldtrips and videos that celebrate what makes Washington's national parks so special. Filmed and edited by a WNPF board member and volunteer, the "Jr. Ranger Program at Mount Rainier National Park for Spanish Language Speakers" video features Interpretive Ranger Alejandro Jiménez sharing his passion for reaching Spanish-speaking visitors with a family visiting the park for the first time. This special video captures the commitment made by the national parks in Washington to connect with visitors from all backgrounds in a meaningful way, emphasizing the point that these parks are for everyone.

Friends of Bosque del Apache

Friends of Bosque del Apache and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge joined together to find ways to safely bring folks to the refuge. They delved into the virtual realm and partnered with many other groups and individuals to make their annual Festival of the Cranes event special despite it not taking place in person. Opportunities were shared for people to learn about cranes from around the world, raptors, prairie dogs, ducks, photography, and of course Bosque del Apache. Each year the Fly Out event is a crowd favorite with hundreds of people quietly listening in person to the amazing sounds of the waking cranes. This video was filmed live at the refuge and shared out through a FaceBook live event. This allowed people to virtually experience the sights and sounds of the sandhill cranes waking and preparing to fly off of the wetlands where they roost overnight for daytime feeding in nearby fields.

Zion National Park Forever Project

The Zion Forever Project modified their annual Plein Art event to an online event called "Art in the time of Covid," selling artists work on the ZFP website. They developed this video featuring the six artists discussing why they love painting in the park as a way to promote the online event.

Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

The Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site found innovative ways to maintain the connection with their community by bringing projects online in 2020 and exploring new avenues with their partners and volunteers. The Friends have created video content including art workshops, volunteer interviews, and a virtual tour of the site for schoolchildren in Chkalovsk, Russia. They have also broadened their retail ventures by acquiring an outdoor sales kiosk and working with artist and partner Lillian Pitt to expand online sales by building a new e-commerce platform. In 2021 the Friends of Fort Vancouver plan to continue these endeavors while also maintaining a connection with their community and encouraging cultural awareness and public participation at this historic site.

Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association

In partnership with the BLM Bishop Field Office, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association developed a virtual interpretation series. These Outpost Observations highlight the natural beauty of BLM recreation hotspots in the Eastern Sierra and the importance of protecting them through responsible recreation and stewardship conservation.