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Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

Public Input Sought on Top Stewardship Messages for Protecting Lake Tahoe

Posted on July 4, 2013
Filed Under Lake Tahoe Eco-Tips

Welcome to My Home Gary BellThe Lake Tahoe Outreach Collaborative has launched a survey to find out what the public thinks are the most important things people can do to help protect Lake Tahoe.

The survey results will be used to inform the creation of a new Environmental Stewardship Messaging campaign for the Tahoe region. The survey takes five minutes to complete and can be found online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TahoeTruckeeStewardship.

“The Lake Tahoe region could benefit from a coordinated effort to encourage residents and visitors to take action to protect and preserve Lake Tahoe,” explained Heather Segale, Education and Outreach Director for the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, and a founding member of the Outreach Collaborative.

Nicole Cartwright from the Tahoe Resource Conservation District concurred. “Multiple agencies and organizations all speak to different issues creating misunderstanding on the part of the public as to what, if anything, they can do to help protect the region and Lake.”

An EPA focus group report on how to engage citizens in water quality improvements efforts, for example, found that simply being told about a problem was insufficient to motivate people to act. The focus group participants indicated that people needed to be told specifically what actions they should take to correct the problem. At the same time, participants emphasized that they did not want to be told too many things at one time.

Members of the Outreach Collaborative (comprised of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Fund, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center and the Truckee River Watershed Council) are concerned that the large number of stewardship messages coming out of the Tahoe Basin may be undermining overall public participation. To address this problem, they developed the Lake Tahoe Environmental Stewardship Messaging Project designed to create a set of key messages to promote a culture of environmental stewardship in the Tahoe region for visitors and residents alike. The coordinating group is seeking input from the public to help guide development of these key messages. In addition to querying the public, members of the Outreach Collaborative also conducted focus groups with school-aged children to get their input and ideas on what they think are the most important things people can do to protect Lake Tahoe.

“This project is all about increasing participation in the protection of the Tahoe Basin, and doing it in a way that creates the greatest positive change,” explained Flavia Sordelet, from the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “It’s important that we work together on a common set of goals if we want to increase environmental stewardship at Lake Tahoe,” added Kristi Boosman from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

After the survey results are tabulated, Outreach Collaborative members will host a large-group facilitated meeting of diverse stakeholders including government agency representatives, environmental groups, businesses, nonprofits, and educators for the purpose of defining and agreeing upon a set of common stewardship messages. Organizations interested in sending a representative to this meeting, which will likely take place in the fall, are encouraged to contact Kristi Boosman via email at kboosman@trpa.org or by phone at 775-589-5230.

“The ultimate goal is to have these common messages used regionally in each organizations’ education, promotion and marketing materials as we begin to speak in a single voice on how residents and visitors can protect Lake Tahoe,” said Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund and Outreach Collaborative member. “We were happy to provide initial funding for this project as we believe this will be a unifying process for the area, and tremendously helpful for the Lake.”

The Lake Tahoe Outreach Collaborative works to foster a culture of positive change in the Lake Tahoe Basin by showing the beneficial impacts cooperation and collaboration can have on the region’s environment.

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