Why smart leaders of change embrace technology for future success

Word Count: 1,072    Reading Time: 5.5 minutes

 

Successful leaders empower people and conservation through the smart use of technology

 

You need to use technology appropriate to your niche and size to be heard and be a successful leader of positive change, whatever your message.

Skilful choices and ways of living, symbiotic with nature and humans, are often drowned out by online noise.

Entertainment, news, frivolity, sensationalism and distraction win the most traffic and revenue.

Therefore, to connect to a wider audience and increase engagement, leaders of change must use technology in smart ways for future success.

 

A Startup 30 years in the making, supports leaders of change

 

We at Eco Freelance Support launched April 2019 to service genres like ecotourism, wellness, conservation, nature based education and evolving human consciousness.

Boosting their success and cementing their position, so as to make more positive change possible. Employing the best tactics and tools of big business to get good causes off the runway.

Founded on decades of experience in the fields we service, we provide IT, business and project management services to these genres.

Word Count: 1,072    Reading Time: 5.5 minutes


 

 

Empowering people and conservation through the smart use of technology

 

You need to use technology appropriate to your niche and size to be heard and be a successful leader of positive change, whatever your message.

Skilful choices and ways of living, symbiotic with nature and humans, are often drowned out by online noise.

Entertainment, news, frivolity, sensationalism and distraction win the most traffic and revenue.

Therefore, to connect to a wider audience and increase engagement, leaders of change must use technology in smart ways for future success.

 

A Startup 30 years in the making, supports leaders of change

 

We at Eco Freelance Support launched April 2019 to service genres like ecotourism, wellness, conservation, nature based education and evolving human consciousness.

Boosting their success and cementing their position, so as to make more positive change possible. Employing the best tactics and tools of big business to get good causes off the runway.

Founded on decades of experience in the fields we service, we provide IT, business and project management services to these genres.

Why did we startup?

 

Firstly, we found many of the folks in these genres struggled to succeed, despite working for the common good and being good at what they do.

Secondly, they often lacked the tools, technical skills and business experience to keep up with rapidly evolving technology and changes in business.

Thirdly, engaging the services that create a bigger audience is often too expensive, or overly complicated and time consuming for them to do it well.

Finally, they were losing too much time to these aspects because their expertise lies in different fields. Thus reducing their effectiveness and diluting their message.

 

Click to unlock the Complete Branding Checklist here.

So we started with a simple goal…

 

Provide an affordable service for those people to get off the runway and flying quickly.

Combining the best technology for their needs with sound business structure and workflows to boost their online and business performance.

Scalable to where they’re at, no matter their size, experience or vision.

Working with them to chart and support their success.

Making them more effective over the long term.

 

Click to unlock the Complete Branding Checklist here.

Real leaders of change

 

You don’t have to change the whole world, just yourself. You know the outer reflects the inner. Therefore, we need only change the inner landscape to change the outer world.

People who understand this are the real leaders of change. But they are not leaders of change because they actively try to change others.

Positive change leaders are such by way of example. They share with others ways of living that are more skilful.

More skilful is to be in balance with nature, with interpersonal relationships and the work-life balance.

Disconnection from nature and each other spreads separatism, dis-ease and stress.

 

Disconnection from each other

 

Despite being more connected than ever in the digital sense, the rise of depression, discontent and malaise demonstrate that our lives are not better for it.

Moreover our interpersonal relationships are more transactional than ever, often more about social proofs than anything else.

Specifically we mean common modern day proofs such as social media likes, shares and comments

 

 

Work-Life Balance

 

Are we using technology to make our lives better yet? Better meaning more skilful, as opposed to more convenient.

Being more connected online can mean less time connected in an organic interpersonal way.

Strangely, being online (or connected) means disconnecting from real people and nature in the here and now.

 

A laptop in the woods, smart leaders of change leverage technology for their success.

It’s a paradox

 

In modern society you must use technology to forward or promote any message.

If you are sharing more skilful ways to live, relate, build community, most likely you used technology to get the word out. I mean, what choice have you got?

Unless of course you are working at absolute grass roots level only, within your local community.

Leveraging technology correctly, drives more traffic to the source of your content, and it’s quality content that stands the test of time.

If it is not properly optimised for search engines, well you might as well go home! Non-optimised content goes nowhere, unless you get lucky and manage to go viral on something. That is statistically rare.

Consider the numbers

Seotribunal.com report these revealing statistics:

Google’s 90.46% share of the global search market equates to 63,000 searches per second.

That equates to 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day.

For people to find you it is essential to rank well in search query results. Nailing your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the only way to achieve this beyond the short term.

NeilPatel explains The 10 Most Important SEO Tips You Need to Know. Neil is a world renowned luminary on the subject.

 

A laptop in the woods, smart leaders of change leverage technology for their success.

How to swim in a big pond full of hungry fish

 

Those statistics above attest the online world is staggeringly massive and growing rapidly. It’s very easy to drown in all the noise, such as entertainment, news, frivolity, sensationalism and distraction.

Many important messages about positive change don’t get heard, or heard enough.

Typically it takes resources to compete with all the noisy online traffic.

A poor indictment of consumerist society, that entertainment, sensationalism and distraction get most of the traffic and make most of the money.

Consumerist bohemiths have the resources to drown out or out compete more skilful messages and choices in the market place and the social feed.

Therefore, a good degree of understanding and skill in using the technology to promote more skilful choices is required in the modern landscape.

The web has become very complex with massive user volumes.

It is now a very big pond with huge numbers of hungry fish in it, thus you need the most appropriate tools and familiarity with those tools to swim successfully in the big pond.

Or know somebody who does, like us.

 

Be a smart fish

 

In conclusion, the right tools used the right way are essential for you to continue to communicate your message and bring about positive change.

Furthermore, engaging pro support specifically geared to boosting leaders of positive change, no matter what scale or the stage of their mission they’re at.

Maintaining your work-life balance, interpersonal relationships and symbiotic relationship with nature.

Lest you start to drown in the online world, your example and message is lost and you fail to realise your vision.

The web is a tool, let’s keep it as such, and get back to reality…nature!

 

Resources

Robbie Richards.com: SEO Copywriting: 15 Killer Techniques (With Examples and A/B Test Results!) 

Creating Interpretive Experience In A Conservation Area

Word Count: 2,085    Reading Time: 11 minutes

Creating Interpretive Experiences in Ecotourism

 

In this post we look at How To Create An Interpretive Experience associated with an ecotourism experience within a Special Area of Conservation in Ireland.

Ecotourism, as defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, typically incorporates a feature of conservation that may be ecological, cultural, historical, archaeological and/or spiritual. The experience should seek to simultaneously immerse visitors in this feature and it’s characteristics whilst preserving it, thus creating a ‘sustainable experience‘.

Careful consideration need be taken to ensure the integrity of the site and features are not impacted by proposed use, nor the access to the features by local peoples affected. In essence, the conservation features should not be altered by the proposed activities, yet means for providing opportunities to immerse within the experience need to bring visitors into close contact with it for it to have any ‘interpretive value‘.

Clearly then, ensuring the sustainability of the conservation features requires considerable research, consultation and planning. It is essential that this process include and be informed by the Interpretive Theme of the experience.

 

Interpretive Themes vs Topics

 

An experience with an essence of conservation at it’s core typically can be found to have a main theme or indeed multiple themes that give meaning to, and reasons for the attitude of preservation of the feature(s).

Themes go far beyond simple topics, and it has been shown by research and experience that learning and understanding are enhanced by the thematic approach (Ham, 1992), as opposed to the instructive, topic based approach.

An example of a topic may be: Nature and Health.

An example of a theme may be: After experiencing nature first hand, interacting with plants and animals personally, people begin to sense the importance of being in nature for their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Thus to create an Interpretive experience the core themes of it must be identified and consensus reached on how best to communicate this to the visitor, while preserving the resource(s).

The concept of thematic interpretation was first proposed by Freeman Tilden in Interpreting Our Heritage (1957) and later by Dr. Grant W. Sharpe in his work, Interpreting the Environment (1976). Thematic Interpretation was later popularised by Dr. Sam H. Ham in Environmental Interpretation (1992).

The common perspective in these works is that thematic interpretation is a process that provokes the visitor or audience to think for themselves, thus developing a subjective understanding of the experience, as opposed to being instructed to accept a particular view point or set of ‘facts’.

In later years thematic interpretation has been more often referred to as ‘thematic communication‘ and adopted in programs aimed at altering environmental behaviours, occupational health and safety, risk assessment and communication and sustainable development.

Word Count: 2,085    Reading Time: 11 minutes

 


 

 

Creating Interpretive Experiences in Ecotourism

 

In this post we look at How To Create An Interpretive Experience associated with an ecotourism experience within a Special Area of Conservation in Ireland.

Ecotourism, as defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, typically incorporates a feature of conservation that may be ecological, cultural, historical, archaeological and/or spiritual. The experience should seek to simultaneously immerse visitors in this feature and it’s characteristics whilst preserving it, thus creating a ‘sustainable experience‘.

Careful consideration need be taken to ensure the integrity of the site and features are not impacted by proposed use, nor the access to the features by local peoples affected. In essence, the conservation features should not be altered by the proposed activities, yet means for providing opportunities to immerse within the experience need to bring visitors into close contact with it for it to have any ‘interpretive value‘.

Clearly then, ensuring the sustainability of the conservation features requires considerable research, consultation and planning. It is essential that this process include and be informed by the Interpretive Theme of the experience.

 

Interpretive Themes vs Topics

 

An experience with an essence of conservation at it’s core typically can be found to have a main theme or indeed multiple themes that give meaning to, and reasons for the attitude of preservation of the feature(s).

Themes go far beyond simple topics, and it has been shown by research and experience that learning and understanding are enhanced by the thematic approach (Ham, 1992), as opposed to the instructive, topic based approach.

An example of a topic may be: Nature and Health.

An example of a theme may be: After experiencing nature first hand, interacting with plants and animals personally, people begin to sense the importance of being in nature for their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Thus to create an Interpretive experience the core themes of it must be identified and consensus reached on how best to communicate this to the visitor, while preserving the resource(s).

The concept of thematic interpretation was first proposed by Freeman Tilden in Interpreting Our Heritage (1957) and later by Dr. Grant W. Sharpe in his work, Interpreting the Environment (1976). Thematic Interpretation was later popularised by Dr. Sam H. Ham in Environmental Interpretation (1992).

The common perspective in these works is that thematic interpretation is a process that provokes the visitor or audience to think for themselves, thus developing a subjective understanding of the experience, as opposed to being instructed to accept a particular view point or set of ‘facts’.

In later years thematic interpretation has been more often referred to as ‘thematic communication‘ and adopted in programs aimed at altering environmental behaviours, occupational health and safety, risk assessment and communication and sustainable development.

How To Engage Visitors By Interpretation?

 

As discussed interpretation is not direct dissemination of facts and viewpoints, but a process of communication that assists visitors to understand the story or theme within the landscape, culture or special site they are visiting. Think immersion in the experience as opposed to just talking about it.

The theme or story may be site and regionally specific, but may have further reaching implications to the region of origin of the visitor, and to the global community too! It’s easy to see then how an engaging interpretive experience may create considerable impact within the awareness of the visitor, the potential flow-on effects of which are incalculable.

When such an approach is used to share conservation and preservation themes, and other similar themes, the resulting impact is more personally engaging and thus more likely to remain within the awareness of the individual and groups.

As Sir David Attenborough puts it;

No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no-one cares about what they’ve never experienced.

 

Typical ways visitors can be engaged in thematic interpretation is by way of walks, talks, tours, media, signage and art, all containing the messages of the theme(s).

Furthermore, interactive experiences, particularly first hand of nature and animals, are very powerful experiences that create a strong personal link with the theme. In general, the more informal and fun the experience, the greater the impact of the theme.

Developing An Interpretive Experience

 

Paul King in Drummin Wood scouting an Interpretive Trail
Paul King in Drummin Wood scouting an Interpretive Trail

Some steps to take…

 

In this particular case we are talking about an Interpretive Trail we gained approval for from the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Ireland. The trail is located within a section of a Special Area of Conservation, Drummin Wood SAC 002181, registered under the EU Habitats Directive. The trail is part of the ecotourism experience we managed, Crann Og Eco Farm, Certified Gold Ecotourism Operator 2015 – 2019.

The approved trail, to be used as part of the ecotourism experience, forest school classes and guided nature therapy walks, is regarded as a blueprint project for ecotourism operators in Ireland. The trail essentially meanders through the conservation area on pre-existing ancient pathways and tracks, taking in numerous points of interest within the oak woodland. The experience is prefaced by, and used to promote the Leave No Trace Codes for Outdoor Conduct.

 

Determining the Themes

 

The starting point for the development of an interpretive experience is arriving at conscensus on the core theme(s) of the experience, and the perceived target audience of the interpretation. In this case the themes arose from years of experience engaging visitors in different activities on different scales.

Enhanced knowledge and training helped for the themes to become clear;

Re-connecting with nature and becoming aware of nature’s cycles and our inter-dependency with nature.

Disconnecting or ‘unplugging’ from information technology to slow down into the moment in nature to release stress, relax, and for benefits of emotional and physical health.

Finding ways to explore and have fun for children and parents together, naturally.

Conservation of nature and the rarity of bio-diverse habitats in Ireland. Discussions, exploration and tours of special area of conservation.

Ecotourism and it’s potential benefits to nature conservation.

Exploring edges and expanding limits of personal and familial experience and levels of comfort in a natural world setting.

Enhancing mental health through interacting with the natural world, stimulating the senses through multisensory experiences.

Conservation of resources and energy and the endless possibilities of the concepts of reduce, re-use and recycle.

Once the thematic content and aims of the interpretive experience have been determined, the means of communication and interaction, that is the content and structure, must be designed.

Along with this, the techniques for facilitating the experience that best suit the themes, engaging facilitation for the target audience, and the overlying aims project, should be determined before moving into the application phase.

 

Attaining Regulatory Approval

 

In any interpretive experience there are likely to be organisations from which regulatory approval is necessary to conduct the proposed activity. Depending on the activity, its situation, the region and its laws and customs, this process may be lengthy and complex.

More than likely written submissions will be required to substantiate the claims of the proponents of the experience in terms of value of the interpretation to the site, visitors, the local community, the region and the overriding theme, of ecotourism and nature conservation in this particular case.

Written submissions should include, as a rule of thumb, details of potential impacts and how they will be managed, benefits to the community of the interpretive experience, levels of engagement and use of the site and technical monitoring of potential impacts.

Periodic reporting is most likely to be a condition to approval of any such activity and thus it is a good idea to include commitment to such reporting in the original submission or application.

It is a strong common sensical approach to propose higher than minimum standard levels of monitoring, management and reporting when seeking regulatory approval, as this demonstrates a very strong commitment to conservation of the resource.

It also sets a ‘tone’ of a high standard which enhances a stronger ethos within those facilitating the interpretation, which in turn reinforces the overlying aims of the theme(s).

 

Stakeholder Liaison

 

To make any submission for regulatory approval, and to conduct a thorough assessment to meet the requirements of ecotourism for example, liaison and possibly negotiation with local and regional stakeholders is essential.

It is impossible to create an ecotourism and indeed and interpretive experience involving sensitive resources without some degree of stakeholder involvement.

Particularly in developing regions, especially where foreign investment is involved in the experience, considerable scope exists for abuse of rights of local peoples and the inequitable consumption of resources as related to tourism activities.

In our view for any ecotourism venture and interpretive experience to be truly sustainable they must go beyond standards that talk more to ‘sustainable tourism development’ than they do to total sustainability. For example we suggest;

 

  • Complete conservation of the natural, cultural, historical, archaeological and ethnographic resources. Anything less than complete preservation is not sustainable and is simply ‘lip service’.
  • Equitable business models that protect and enhance the lives of the regional and local stakeholders at all levels and without exception.
  • Business and operational models of which the main aim is complete sustainability of the natural interpretive resources in perpetuity, as opposed to ‘sustainable tourism business development’. This must be inclusive of continued assessment demonstrating that the activity should be discontinued where applicable.
  • Restrictions on foreign ownership of any region’s ‘interpretive assets’ combined with capping of foreign investment share in operational profits.
  • Monetary fund with standard conditions for access by all peoples of all regions for the development of truly sustainable experiences incorporating interpretive resources, such that the need for foreign investment is negated.
  • Complete resource consumption versus waste and pollution neutrality or better, without exception.

 

Trained interpretive experience staff showing animal skull found in the wild.

Identifying Key Experience and Training Needs

 

Once themes are determined it is the essential to determine what experience and potential training will be required by those facilitating the interpretive experience, to ensure the aims of the experience are attained.

Accumulating the identified experience and training can be a long process and require input from many sources and considerable financial resources. In addition, pilot programs are a recommended next phase to assess the efficacy of the training and the interpretive experience, as well as the capabilities of those facilitating the interpretation.

Depending on legislation and insurance requirements, certification of facilitators may be required, usually where the experience involves children or some or more physical risk. This can add to the lead time to start-up of an interpretive experience and require additional financial resources.

 

Trained interpretive experience staff showing animal skull found in the wild.

Communication of The Experience Pre & Post Visit

 

Potential visitors must be able to understand what the interpretive experience offers in terms of connection with nature, education, conservation, recreation and how the experience benefits the environment and local community.

The description and promotion the experience should be accurate, complete and reflect the nature and feel of the experience.

Access to be made to additional information and interpretive resources that compliment and support the theme(s) and overlying aims.

Wherever possible proponents should endeavour to connect with other organisations, venues and networks of similar and complimentary content.

Networking helps to further the aims of all members of that network and avail the potential visitors to create a multi faceted experience in the region.

In time it is likely the interpretive experience will be modified, taking on enhancements or potentially changes required as a result of observation of impacts of the interpretive activities.

Communication of the evolution of the experience may be communicated to previous visitors through websites, email and social media to continue the process of education.

 

 

Development of Interpretive Materials

 

The process of determining the theme(s) of the interpretation will involve the identification of materials and techniques for the facilitation of the experience.

Additional resources are likely required for the creation of a range of different materials that may include multimedia (online & in case of a centre), maps, trails, viewing structures, protective enclosures/exclosures, trail markers, interactive equipment/props and educational material.

Furthermore, depending on the type of experience, relevant infrastructure and ‘setting’ may be required involving additional planning, time, resources and approval.

Determining the interactive materials required feeds back into the Key Experience & Training stage, informing potential additional needs in this area.

 

 

Evaluation & Management

 

The efficacy of the interpretive experience and the effectiveness of impact management associated with the activities must be assessed over time and against frequency of engagement.

Achieving the aims of the interpretation and the quantitative goals of the impact management require monitoring and experience feedback collation and assessment.

Without such information feedback loops it is impossible to determine if an experience is of the proposed value and if it should be continued.

 

Resources

Interpreting Our Heritage, Freeman Tilden, 1957.

Interpreting the Environment, Dr. Grant W. Sharpe, 1976.

Environmental Interpretation, Dr. Sam H. Ham, 1992.