Elanor Teel

Last summer, as an engagement and outreach assistant with Watershed Watch Salmon Society, my job was all about face-to-face interaction. I spent many days at farmers’ markets talking to people about the importance of standing up for wild salmon, handing out stickers and information and letting kids pet our salmon stuffie (Sammy!). I helped organize film screenings, restoration projects and other in-person events.

Due to the pandemic, my job has shifted dramatically. Nearly all the activities that comprised my job last summer are no longer permitted. I’ll admit, at first I felt quite discouraged. How was I supposed to meaningfully engage with people through only a screen? What was the point of public engagement during this time? 

However, over the past weeks, as I have connected with people online and over the phone, I am realizing that movements can use any medium to grow. Sharing information about wild salmon and building public engagement is still possible even when we can’t meet in person.

Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant in our defense of wild salmon. While the government’s attention is, understandably, turned to the pandemic, we need to ensure industry doesn’t get away with any actions that harm wild salmon. And as governments make decisions about how they will invest and stimulate the economy, the decisions they make may have lasting impacts on wild salmon and their habitats, for better or for worse. This is no time to stay quiet.

Although we can not get out into the community physically, there is still plenty we can all do to stand up for our wild salmon.

  1. Get social! Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Like, comment on and share our posts to help raise awareness about the issues facing wild Pacific salmon.
  2. Take online actions. Send letters. Sign petitions. And share them with people in your networks. Start today with sending a letter to decisionmakers asking them to invest in fish-friendly flood control.
  3. Make online donations. If you have the means, making a donation to an organization whose work you support in is a meaningful way to make a difference. For example, you can donate to Watershed Watch Salmon Society here.
  4. Connect with other like minded people! These days, people are coming together in really creative ways. From webinars, to dance parties, to watching online movies together. We have been hosting biweekly happy hours which have been a really great way to connect informally. (Get in touch if you want to join us!)

Do you have other ideas for ways to meaningfully engage with the public during coronavirus? I would love to hear from you and get your input. Shoot me an email.

Thank you again, and let’s keep staying strong for the salmon! 



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