The Forest Preserve District of Will County is rolling out a big, bold multimedia campaign designed to get people to behave in the preserves and treat nature and other preserve visitors with respect.
The effort is in response to complaints by members of the public who don’t want to be walking through a preserve filled with litter and dog poop or traveling on a trail with people hogging the whole path or letting their dogs run amok. The campaign also is designed to protect wildlife that can be harmed by improperly disposed of cigarette butts, fishing line and other refuse.
The campaign will consist of “Don’t Be A Jerk” videos showing what not to do, eye-catching signs featuring photos and messages that encourage better behavior, and social media posts that show the latest garbage dumped in a preserve, which is an almost daily occurrence.
To view the first video, visit bit.ly/dontbeajerkdogowner.
While the Forest Preserve’s ordinance prohibits the activities targeted in the campaign and there are traditional signs posted throughout the preserves, it doesn’t seem to be enough to discourage the behaviors that mar nature and harm wildlife.
“We’re taking a creative approach to an ongoing problem,” said Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve’s chief operating officer. “This marketing strategy is designed to be responsive to those concerns expressed by the public.”
‘Don’t Be a Jerk’ videos
Four videos will be produced in an effort to educate and inspire visitors to be respectful of nature and other preserve patrons. The videos in an exaggerated way will illustrate what not to do and will feature information on:
Eye catching signs
Signs that will be posted in the preserves will feature photos of cute animals and clear messages, including:
The campaign will use a bit of humor and simple messages to educate and encourage positive behavior for the benefit of all who spend time in the preserves.
“For the majority of our preserve users who are doing the right thing, these messages should serve as more of a pat on the back to acknowledge that they are mindful of the rules, and that they care about the health and beauty of the preserves and the creatures who live there,” explained Laura Kiran, the Forest Preserve’s director of Marketing and Communications. “They can read the signs and social media posts and watch the videos, and know that they are doing their part. For those who aren’t behaving as they should, we hope this will serve as a bold reminder. Everyone needs to pitch in to ensure the preserves remain places where wildlife can thrive and where people will want to continue to visit.”
For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.