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Communicating for Aquatic Conservation in Cambodia and Beyond: Lessons Learned from In-Person and Media-Based Environmental Education and Outreach Strategies

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FISHBIO, 519 Seabright Ave, Suite 208, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA
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Young Eco Ambassadors, #21, Street 5A, Russey Keo Commune, Russey Keo District, Phnom Penh 120703, Cambodia
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Wonders of the Mekong Project, #186, Preah Norodom Blvd., P.O. Box 582, Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia
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FISHBIO, 180 East 4th Street, Suite 160, Chico, CA 95928, USA
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Department of Biology and Global Water Center, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nisikawa Usio
Water 2021, 13(13), 1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131853
Received: 1 May 2021 / Revised: 19 June 2021 / Accepted: 21 June 2021 / Published: 2 July 2021
Communication and outreach efforts are essential for raising awareness about conservation issues among the general public. This paper reviews three in-person approaches (environmental education, outreach events, and field trips), as well as four types of media (print products, news media, visual media, and social media) for communicating about environmental topics, with a focus on highlighting conservation issues in Cambodia. Strengths and weaknesses are considered for each communication tool, along with lessons from a case study example of the Wonders of the Mekong, an interdisciplinary project based in Cambodia that aims to study, protect, and raise awareness about the Mekong River system. We also describe a cross-cutting initiative to share inspiring stories of local conservation practitioners that incorporates both in-person and media-based approaches. In terms of required resources and effort, there is an inherent tradeoff between the depth of in-person engagement and overall reach. While media-based approaches are valuable for reaching large numbers of people with a moderate amount of effort, in-person approaches may create a deeper connection and longer-term impact on an individual level. Ultimately, a diverse communication strategy that utilizes multiple tools to reach different audiences will be most effective. The interdisciplinary Wonders of the Mekong project has successfully communicated the values of the Mekong ecosystem to a broad audience in Cambodia using a variety of strategies, and further evaluation could help illuminate whether and how these communication approaches are shifting attitudes or promoting conservation behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lower Mekong Basin; engagement; social media; freshwater Lower Mekong Basin; engagement; social media; freshwater
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MDPI and ACS Style

Loury, E.K.; Eschenroeder, J.C.; Seat, L.; Chea, S.; Chhut, C.; Kritsanavarin, S.; Lovgren, S.; Ramsay, E.G.; Thao, D.; Hogan, Z.S. Communicating for Aquatic Conservation in Cambodia and Beyond: Lessons Learned from In-Person and Media-Based Environmental Education and Outreach Strategies. Water 2021, 13, 1853. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131853

AMA Style

Loury EK, Eschenroeder JC, Seat L, Chea S, Chhut C, Kritsanavarin S, Lovgren S, Ramsay EG, Thao D, Hogan ZS. Communicating for Aquatic Conservation in Cambodia and Beyond: Lessons Learned from In-Person and Media-Based Environmental Education and Outreach Strategies. Water. 2021; 13(13):1853. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131853

Chicago/Turabian Style

Loury, Erin K., Jackman C. Eschenroeder, Lykheang Seat, Seila Chea, Chheana Chhut, Suthep Kritsanavarin, Stefan Lovgren, Elizabeth G. Ramsay, Dee Thao, and Zeb S. Hogan 2021. "Communicating for Aquatic Conservation in Cambodia and Beyond: Lessons Learned from In-Person and Media-Based Environmental Education and Outreach Strategies" Water 13, no. 13: 1853. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131853

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