Below are some tips for land trusts to help prepare, host, and follow up on Land Trust Days events.
Prep your team.
Whether your event is large or small, having a team available for guest questions, registration, and hospitality is essential. Make sure all host team members are easily identified, know their responsibilities, and have a master list of contacts to troubleshoot.
Meet and greet your guests.
Welcome people as they arrive. Pack pens and sign-in forms to capture the names, addresses, emails, and telephone numbers of your attendees. If people pre-registered for your event, print a copy of the guest list and bring it along to record attendance.
You can also use Gathering Waters’ YETI Cooler give-a-way entry forms to record who came to the event. Just be sure to send us the entries after you have logged the names and addresses.
Provide for basic human needs.
- Be prepared with insect repellant, sunscreen, and water for guests who didn’t bring their own.
- Offer refreshments to keep energy from lagging. These can be as simple as water, fruit, vegetables, or granola bars. With basic needs met, guests will better be able to fully participate.
- Make sure guests know the locations of the nearest restroom.
Have a clear purpose.
Like a good story, even a “simple hike” should have a beginning, middle, and end. Think about bringing people on a journey that conveys the importance of land conservation. Tour leaders, invite people on the journey and don’t lose them along the way! Capture the imagination and talk about logistics at the start, pace yourself, and make planned stops where there is space to gather in shade/shelter, ask what people see or hear, and tie the tour to your main message.
Limit the lingo and convey key information.
We use a lot of jargon and acronyms in our land and water conservation work! Use terms your audience can understand and avoid abbreviations. And be sure to share and explain key information. For example, if your property was protected with funds from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, it’s important to let people know!
Send your guests home with something to remember you by.
First and foremost, if you make your message relevant for participants, they will be able to carry it back to their daily lives. Plant the seeds to motivate people to explore further, and return to the event site (if appropriate) or other places your land trust protects. Hand out materials that Gathering Waters provides, like Land Trust Days stickers and Wisconsin Nature Guides.
Celebrate and build on the positives.
Hosting an event is rewarding… and it’s a lot of hard work. Make sure you take care of yourself. Stay hydrated and nourished throughout the day, and take time to celebrate afterward!
Share the experience by tagging photos with #HaveFunOutside. Write down participant comments and feedback while they are fresh in your mind. And let us know how your event went!