Your Local Marketing Can’t be ‘Chicken’

It might seem like a no-brainer that marketing your ecotourism destination means reaching people far and wide, but sometimes you’ve got to flip the script. Your most important audience might be right in your own back yard.

Take, for example, the lesser prairie chicken. This species of grouse native to the American prairie grasslands is teetering on the edge of the endangered species list. Seen as a nuisance to ranchers and suffering from loss of habitat, the last sustainable population of the lesser prairie chicken is located in western Kansas. And it just so happens that, once a year, this particular species performs a spectacular mating dance sought after by birdwatchers around the world.

Scott City rancher Stacy Hoeme saw both the need to preserve the prairie chicken and the opportunity to turn his region into a birding destination. Practicing sustainable pasture management and hosting excursions to see the lesser prairie chicken’s mating dance, Hoeme is hoping the rest of the community will see the advantage in birding ecotourism.

Sustaining the Environment and Communities

Hoeme and local experts see the effort as a win/win. As landowners see the value in preserving habitat for the birds and starting their own prairie chicken excursions, the birds will grow in population. Meanwhile, local economies benefit from an injection of tourist dollars.

Quoted in the Hutchinson News, Kansas Wildlife Parks and Tourism guide Mike Pearce said:

We want to help promote the outdoors for the state of Kansas, and we can use the lesser prairie chicken as a gateway to get people here. But one thing we talked about is that we want to make this educational (for tourists and the surrounding communities). If tourists start filling up hotels for three months, the public starts thinking better of the lesser prairie chicken.

Getting local buy-in is vital to any ecotourism public relations strategy because it creates the supporting businesses and local enthusiasm that your destination and conservation effort needs to thrive.

‘Selling’ the Prairie Chicken

The lesser prairie chicken is off to a great start with articles in local media outlets talking up the benefits of ecotourism. That’s just one way that ecotourism public relations can help gain buy-in from the community. Other initiatives can include:

  • Blogging on topics of local interest.
  • Social media posts with localized hashtags.
  • Speaking engagements with community organizations and clubs.

An ecotourism public relations agency can make sure your message gets heard by everyone who needs to hear it, from the far-flung tourists and enthusiasts to the folks right around the corner. The environmental public relations experts at Orange Orchard are passionate about environmental causes and helping responsible ecotourism destinations succeed. If you would like to put our expertise to work for you, call us at (865) 977-1973 or contact Orange Orchard online.