National Wetlands Update 2012
Issue No. 20, February 2012
Queensland's wonderful wetlands - what do wetlands visitors want to know?
Rosemary Lancaster and Emily Smykal, Queensland Wetlands Program, Department of Environment and Resource Management
The Queensland's wonderful wetlands poster (Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management)
What's attractive about a swamp?
Creating an understanding and appreciation of wetlands in the general community is a challenge. Wetlands are often not valued because people do not understand their rich and complex ecosystems or their importance to our lives.
Wetlands have many values. For example, healthy wetlands are places to relax and enjoy some of Queensland's natural wonders. They are also diversity hotspots for plants and animals, including threatened species.
The Queensland Wetlands Program wanted to create a resource that would encourage people to visit wetlands and understand their many values.
Why was a brochure the solution?
The Program already had a package of school materials that had been implemented in the Great Barrier Reef catchments - the Wetlands Warriors package.
The website WetlandInfo - the Program's first-stop shop for wetlands management resources - includes lots of materials for a very broad range of stakeholders. However, these communication tools weren't designed as an introduction for the general public or a wetland visitor. Research indicated that the WetlandInfo website was overwhelming to someone with only a casual interest in wetlands. Many organisations and educational institutions had made requests in the past for printed information on wetlands in Queensland which could be given out to the general public, but no such item existed.
We decided to meet that requirement of our stakeholders and communicate directly with the community. The Program needed a tool that would be interesting for general readers and link them to WetlandInfo if they needed more information. The solution was a hard copy, full-colour publication that was developed through direct stakeholder engagement.
The result was Queensland's wonderful wetlands-a multi-purpose product that helps the Program raise awareness of wetlands and their values in the community.
Creating the product
The Program asked stakeholders, such as wetlands centres, for their specific needs from a community-oriented publication. We asked about the type and amount of information, the best kind of illustrations, the most appropriate 'voice', and the likely number needed to supply stakeholders up to 2013.
The Queensland's wonderful wetlands poster and panels from the brochure were on display at the 2011 Royal Brisbane Show, along with the Program's interactive touch screen console (Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management)
A first draft of the brochure was circulated among the Program's internal stakeholders to ensure a consistent message. Then the draft went out to wider stakeholders to get their views and advice.
A direct result of the consultation was a request for a poster to accompany the brochure, which we developed in two sizes for display and for individuals. The consultation had two important benefits. Firstly, the Program was confident the brochure was appropriate, relevant and useful for its audience because stakeholders themselves had guided the final product. Secondly, the actual process of consultation raised awareness of the Program and its work among stakeholders.
A successful outcome for wetlands
Published to coincide with Worlds Wetlands Day 2011, 10 000 copies of the full-colour brochure and 200 A2 posters and 1000 A3 size posters were printed. All were made available free to stakeholders, including delivery. More than 4000 brochures and 250 posters were delivered to clients in time for World Wetlands Day 2011, and to date more than 10 000 brochures and 1000 posters have been distributed across Queensland.
Stakeholders who ordered the brochure and the poster have included the Burnett Mary Regional Group, Osprey House Environmental Centre, the Port of Brisbane, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Sunfish, the Queensland Farmers Federation, Brisbane City Council wetlands centres and many more.
Regional stakeholders such as natural resource management groups and environmental centres have put the publications on display, made them available to visitors at wetlands across the state, and distributed them at events including regional agricultural shows and the Royal Brisbane Show.
Queensland's wonderful wetlands gives the community and tourists immediate access to information about wetlands, and directs them to the Program's WetlandInfo website, where they can learn even more about Queensland's wetlands.
Spreading the word about wetlands values
A big community demand exists for interesting, quality information about wetlands and their values. The brochures proved to be so popular that the Program has recently commissioned a reprint of 10 000 to meet future demand. The A3 poster has also been reprinted.
Recently the Program started developing a short simple fact-filled media presentation about the values of wetlands. Look out for it on our WetlandInfo home page in 2012.
About the Program
The Queensland Wetlands Program supports projects and activities that result in long-term benefits to the sustainable management, wise use and protection of wetlands in Queensland. The tools developed by the Program help wetlands landholders, managers and decision-makers in government and industry. The Program is a joint initiative of the Australian and Queensland governments. Find all your wetland management resources on WetlandInfo.
For further information visit: