I thought the West Virginia woods would be the least likely place to inspire high-tech communications plans. I was wrong. In fact, it's because I was in the woods that I'm writing this blog entry and committed to experimenting with ways to reach out to CBF members and partners in a more technologically advanced way.
I went to West Virginia to attend the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay's 2nd Annual Watershed Forum. It was a weekend of networking & workshops dedicated to restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Even though we were in the woods with no cell phone reception, my take home message is that technology is where it's at. Technology will Save the Bay. I'm not talking fancy monitoring equipment or a new device that erases our pollution--wouldn't that be nice! I'm talking social networking, online communication, instant access to information & resources…all of this enables people to connect more quickly and strategically to the solutions that will, in fact, Save the Bay.
I have to be honest. I have a hard time with online technology. I think I'm the only 20-something who doesn't have a MySpace page or doesn't love text messaging. I like looking someone in the eye and having a conversation. But after listening to Marty Kearns from Green Media Toolshed, I've got to get my act together.
There are so many technological tools at our fingertips to enhance this movement to Save the Bay. Here in CBF's Virginia office we are going to start an online network for our "Grasses for the Masses" volunteers so they can not only communicate with our Grassroots Coordinator, Jessica, but also communicate with each other. That's one tiny step, but it's a step in the right direction.
Emily Francis is Outreach & Advocacy Manager for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Virginia Office.