CIE Seminar Series 2022: A strategic communication approach to biodiversity conservation

SPEAKER: Dr. Emily Gregg, RMIT University.

DATE & TIME: Friday 19th August 2022 @ 12pm.

LOCATION: Via Zoom. Click HERE to connect (Meeting ID: 812 5556 2274, Password: 89428618).

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Effective communication is a key component of behaviour change interventions for biodiversity, yet the evidence base for conservation messaging is still relatively novel and often context specific. Moving from more traditional science communication approaches to public engagement strategies that draw from communication disciplines (e.g., social marketing, advertising, public relations etc.) also raises potential ethical considerations that may be unfamiliar to conservation professionals. So how can we plan and design conservation messaging that is strategic, ethical, and effective?

In this talk I draw from my PhD research to explore how a strategic communications approach can assist with the planning and design of conservation messaging (and present some practical tips!). Specifically, I discuss ethical considerations for messaging, barriers to public and stakeholder engagement, and the use of strategic message framing and narratives.

I draw from specific examples, including work focused on kangaroo management, strategic name changes of species common names, and how we talk about nature and COVID-19. While the complexity of communication planning poses a challenge, it also provides conservation scientists with a unique opportunity to employ new approaches to public and stakeholder engagement. By drawing from the social sciences, and taking a strategic and targeted approach, conservation scientists can plan, design, and share more effective messages for nature conservation


Emily is an ecologist turned conservation social scientist, with a particular interest in strategic communication planning and design. She has recently submitted her PhD thesis working within the ICON Science research group at RMIT University.

Emily is passionate about applying knowledge from communication studies and other social sciences (e.g., behaviour change, social marketing, conservation psychology, ecolinguistics) to improve outcomes for the environment and people.

Follow Emily on Twitter.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone.

Thanking you in advance!

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