Your most valuable tool for advocacy is knowledge. After gaining a better understanding of how highways happen, this section compiles some good advice on how to put your newfound knowledge to work. If you find yourself in a situation where it is no longer appropriate to chain yourself to a tree, this information will help.
There is strength in numbers. Coalitions harness the resources of member organizations to achieve common goals. Learn how to find partners and form a strong coalition around your issue.
Working with Government Agencies
Perhaps more than others, the issue of wildlife conservation and transportation lends itself to working collaboratively with government agencies, at the local, state and federal level. While oversight and opposition should remain important tools in every advocate’s toolbox, here are some tips on improving your working relationship with government agencies.
Get to Know Your Public Officials
Elected officials, from your town mayor to state legislators to Congress, can influence decisions regarding transportation and its impact on wildlife. You donít have to be a K Street lobbyist or high-dollar campaign contributor to meet with lawmakers. You just need to be informed, prepared and professional. In fact, elected officials would rather meet with you as a constituent than meet with a paid lobbyist.
Getting Your Message Out
While millions of people are involved in wildlife-vehicle collisions, very few people understand the full scope of ecological effects of roads upon wildlife. Even fewer are aware of methods to reduce these impacts or understand their own ability to participate in the process. It’s our job to wake this sleeping giant and cultivate an informed citizen constituency.
Fundraising is nothing new to conservationists; it can mean everything from “tin cupping” to receiving major, multi-year grants. But don’t be overwhelmed. Reduced to its simplest expression, fundraising is the act of asking a person for a gift of money.